EWING, N.J. HC — EWING, N.J. -- Erin Stewart and Jenny Slingluff scored 36 seconds apart early in the second half yesterday to break a tie and lead top-ranked Virginia to an 8-6 victory over Maryland and its first NCAA Division I women's lacrosse championship.
The championship was the first NCAA women's title for Virginia (17-1) since 1982 and it handed second-seeded Maryland (14-3) its second straight loss in the title game. The Terps lost last year's title game 8-7 to Harvard. Maryland has been runner-up four times since the NCAA began its championships 10 years ago.
Virginia, which defeated Maryland 6-5 in the regular season, built a 5-0 lead in the opening 12:23 of the first half on two goals apiece by Cherie Greer and Slingluff (Roland Park) and one by Elaine Jones (Friends). Greer and Slingluff both finished with three goals.
Maryland recovered its poise and closed to 5-3 at halftime on goals by Leann Shuck (Broadneck), Kerstin Manning and Michelle Uhlfelder (Pikesville). The Terps eventually tied the game 5:08 into the second half on goals by Uhlfelder and Betsy Elder.
However, Stewart (Maryvale Prep) rifled a 10-yard shot past goalie Mandy Stevenson at the 6:38 mark to break the tie and Slingluff then bounced a shot past Stevenson 36 seconds later for a 7-5 edge.
Uhlfelder brought Maryland within 7-6 with her third goal of the game with 4:06 to play, but Greer clinched the title for Virginia with an empty-net goal with seven seconds to play.
"There's no question but what Virginia is the strongest team and a true champion," Maryland's first-year coach Cindy Timsal told The Sun. "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."
Maryland now has a 1-4 record in women's lacrosse championship games. It won the title in 1986 and lost in '84, '85, '90 and '91.
Virginia, which was making its first appearance in the title game, and Maryland are the only two Atlantic Coast Conference teams that play women's lacrosse.