EWING, N.J. -- After the University of Maryland had rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie the score at 5, University of Virginia coach Jane Miller called the ensuing 20 minutes, "a test."
Looking at a group of her players, she added, "and the kids really passed the test. That's the way they have played all year . . . bent, but not broken."
Sophomore Erin Stewart (Maryvale), part of the Cavaliers' "Baltimore Connection," broke the tie 90 seconds after it had been created, and Virginia went on to claim its first national Division I women's lacrosse championship with an 8-6 decision.
The outcome relegated Maryland (13-3) to its fourth runner-up finish in five championship games since the National Collegiate Athletic Association began its championships 10 years ago.
Of the six Baltimore-area players on the Virginia team, most of whom were not recruited by Maryland, three accounted for five of the goals in the game played before 2,200 at Trenton State College.
Jenny Slingluff (Roland Park) had three goals, giving her eight goals and two assists for the two weekend games, and Elaine Jones (Friends) joined Stewart in getting single goals.
Later, Stewart talked about the six Baltimore players, five of whom came out of private schools and as she explained it: "After playing against each other all through school, we wanted to play together. We certainly didn't want to have to play against the others any more if we could help it."
In addition to Slingluff, Stewart, and Jones, the others are senior Kim O'Keefe (Overlea), sophomore Kelly Cowan (St. Paul's), and freshman Natalie Santos (Friends).
"There's no question but what Virginia is the strongest team and a true champion," Maryland's first-year coach, Cindy Timsal, said. "It would have been closer if we'd had a stronger start, but I'm proud of our courage and the way we fought back."
Miller pointed out that "in our first game (a 6-5 Virginia win at Charlottesville, Va., in late March), I thought our speed and pressure in the midfield made the difference. We had to have it again, and it paid off."
Virginia (17-1), winning its 12th straight game since a 10-9 loss to Penn State, exploited these two factors in jumping to a 4-0 lead in the first 6 minutes, 11 seconds. Slingluff got the fourth and six minutes later got another for a 5-0 cushion.
Michelle Uhlfelder (Pikesville), a senior tri-captain and Maryland's most devastating player, also cited Virginia's discipline, especially on attack. "They had set patterns and made them work. They were 'perked' the whole game."
Uhlfelder assisted on the ice-breaking goal by Leann Shuck (Broadneck) with 10 minutes left in the half and scored one, as the Terps drew within 5-3 at the break.
Virginia .. .. .. .. 5 .. .. .. .. 3 .. .. -- .. 8
Maryland .. .. .. .. 3 .. .. .. .. 3 .. .. -- .. 6
Goals: UV -- Greer 3, Slingluff 3, Jones, Stewart; UM -- Uhlfelder 3, Shuck, Manning, Elder. Assists: UV -- None; UM -- Uhlfelder, Frendberg. Shots: UV -- 22; UM -- 12. Saves: UV -- Christman 4; UM -- Stevenson 16.
Outstanding players: Attack -- Uhlfelder, Slingluff. Midfield -- Robyn Nye, Virginia; Sara Hoysted, Penn State. Defense -- Kierstin Coppola, New Hampshire; Mandy Stevenson, Maryland.