VILLANOVA, Pa. – Despite a gritty second half performance, Maryland fell to North Carolina 13-12 in triple overtime Sunday in the 2013 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship at Villanova Stadium.
Maryland (22-1) narrowly missed out on its fifth perfect season in program history and fell in the championship game for the second time in three seasons by one goal. Freshman Taylor Cummings and senior Katie Schwarzmann led the way for the attack with a hat trick each and Brooke Griffin tallied five points on two goals and three assists.
The Terps faced their first halftime deficit of the season but were able to rebound with an outstanding showing in the second period, outscoring the Tar Heels 6-3 in the period.
North Carolina (18-3) began the contest – which was the third meeting between the two teams this season – with three unanswered goals to give Maryland its largest deficit since a regular season loss at UNC April 7, 2012.
Cummings continued to shine in her first final four appearance with a goal at 24:41 to shrink UNC’s lead to two but a goal by Aly Messinger a minute later gave the Tar Heels a 4-1 cushion.
Erin Collins sunk a free position after winning a hard-fought draw control at 23:29 but UNC answered back with another Messinger tally at 18:36.
A free position goal by Cummings and a top-shelf blast by Schwarzmann within 14 seconds of each other in the 17th minute set the score at 5-4 before back-to-back Cannizzaro scores extended Carolina’s advantage to 7-4 with 13:40 to play in the opening stanza.
Both teams exchanged goals twice – including scores by Beth Glaros and Griffin – for a 9-6 UNC lead at the half. It was the most goals allowed by Maryland in the first half this season.
But the Terrapin attack erupted out of the break for a ferocious 5-0 run to give Maryland its first lead of the game. Led by two scores from Schwarzmann, the Terps tallied all five goals in the first 10:05 of the period and held the Tar Heel offense off the board for nearly 17 minutes for an 11-9 cushion.
Brittney Coppa capped her hat trick with a score at 18:23 to snap the drought and squeeze the lead to one and Cannizzaro penetrated the middle for an 11-11 tie six minutes later.
Cannizzaro notched her fourth goal of the night on a free position to give UNC the 12-11 advantage but it would be Maryland’s top offensive threat Aust who would make a terrific move on the corner for the game-tying score with 3:51 remaining to force overtime.
It was the first overtime game for Maryland since May 1, 2011 at Dartmouth and what ensued would be the longest NCAA championship game in the sport’s history.
The Terps were able to get three shots off in the first overtime but Cummings’ shot hit the post and a pair of solid looks by Glaros were saved by Carolina goalie Megan Ward.
Kasey Howard – a senior who finished her career 22-1 as a starter for the Terps – came up huge in the second overtime, recording three big saves to push the game into a third extra period.
After another Ward save, Carolina was successful in the clear and a Sammy Jo Tracy score out of transition sealed the Tar Heels’ first national championship.
“Congratulations to UNC,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “That was a great game. This team played so hard, both teams did. They left their hearts out there.”
The marathon contest was the Maryland finale for eight seniors – Schwarzmann, Aust, Howard, Iliana Sanza, Melissa Diepold, Sam Barber, Camilla Hayes and Kristen McAfee. The class ends their Terrapin career with five ACC championships, one national title, four NCAA Final Four appearances and an 84-8 overall record.
With one assist on the night – senior Alex Aust is tied for second all-time in both career assists (132) and single-season assists (55) in Maryland history
Maryland played in its nation-leading 17th NCAA title game.
Katie Schwarzmann ends her career ranked third in goals (229) and points (304) in program history.