No. 1 Maryland Downs No. 3 UNC for 5th Straight ACC Crown

CHAPEL Hill, N.C. After raising the bar one year earlier, the Maryland Terrapins cleared it with room to spare.

Maryland, which last year became the first team to win four straight Atlantic Coast Women's Lacrosse Championships, made it five in a row with a 12-8 victory over North Carolina in Sunday evening's title game, played in a heavy rain at Fetzer Field.

The top-seeded and top-ranked Terrapins (19-0) seized control by scoring six goals in the first 10:12 of the second half.

Trailing 12-4, the second-seeded and third-ranked Tar Heels closed the match with four unanswered goals, including three by Abby Friend. But Maryland maintained control and ran out the remaining time.

"What a night for us," said Maryland coach Cathy Reese. "We knew coming in it was going to be a battle. It always is when you have two talented teams playing one another. Obviously, the weather conditions were less than favorable; you had people slipping and sliding all over the place. But I was proud of the way we stuck together."

Senior Katie Schwarzmann earned her second ACC Tournament MVP award after handing out a championship-game record four assists. Brooke Griffin, Taylor Cummings and Beth Glaros each scored a hat trick, and Alex Aust added a pair of goals in the Terrapins' balanced attack.

'Katie, being the player she is, draws a lot of double (teams)," Reese said. "But that opens up your other players like Brooke and Taylor Cummings, and we have seen them have success because of it."

North Carolina (14-3) fell to Maryland in the ACC Championship title game for the fourth straight year despite Friend's game-high four goals. The Tar Heels held a 15-7 advantage in draw controls, but Maryland led 29-19 on ground balls. North Carolina committed 14 second-half turnovers and went 7 of 15 for the game on clear attempts.

"In that first 10-minute stretch of the second half, I don't think it was a lack of offense on our part it was a lack of not having the ball," North Carolina coach Jenny Levy said. "I thought our fight was great. With 10 minutes left in the match, we had great momentum.

"Our inability to clear the ball was unfortunate. Usually we are 95 to 99 percent (successful) on clearing."

With senior Kara Cannizzaro assisting on one goal and scoring another herself, North Carolina built a 3-2 lead by the 10:38 mark of the opening half. But Maryland countered with three unanswered goals two by Glaros sandwiched around one by Aust to go up 5-3 at the break.

Griffin led Maryland's charge at the outset of the second half, scoring two goals and assisting on another. Four other players scored at least one goal during the Terrapins' decisive run.

Megan Ward made nine saves in goal for North Carolina, while Maryland's Kasey Howard recorded eight.

* * * *

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. No. 1 Maryland topped North Carolina 12-8 to capture its fifth-straight Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Lacrosse Championship Sunday at Fetzer Field.

The Terps (19-0) were led by hat tricks from Brooke Griffin, Beth Glaros and Taylor Cummings. Katie Schwarzmann - who was named ACC Championship Most Valuable Player for the second straight season - tied a championship game record with four assists against the Tar Heels (14-3).

A tightly-contested first half began with both teams feeling out the wet conditions at Fetzer. It would be Maryland who would strike first with a Griffin goal at 27:00. North Carolina answered exactly three minutes later with a tally from Abbey Friend. Maryland's rookie tandem put the Terps back on top with a Cummings goal from Halle Majorana at 17:47.

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