COLLEGE PARK -- This is the kind of sports story everybody loves.
It's a tale about three Maryland seniors who have twice been denied being members of NCAA women's lacrosse title teams by close losses in championship games.
Now Leigh Frendberg, Kim Terhorst and Jennifer Fink are making their final stand against the Harvards and Virginias in hopes of going out on top.
The three All-America hopefuls want to put to rest whispers that they are destined to be second best.
"This has become a little tedious and monotonous," Fink said Thursday night, as the No. 2 Terrapins prepared for tonight's regular-season-ending showdown against No. 6 Penn State at Byrd Stadium at 7:30.
Although no Maryland team has looked past Penn State in any sport, the Terrapins women's lacrosse squad can be forgiven for looking ahead to a possible NCAA championship match with No. 1 Harvard.
The Crimson not only handed Maryland (11-1) its only loss this season, but it also was Harvard that beat the Terps, 7-6, in the NCAA championship game two years ago.
"We always want to play Harvard," said Fink, from Broadneck High in Annapolis. "Since our high school days, we have always hated losing to private schools. Harvard is a great school and they have nice girls, but you know it's fun to beat them because they're 'Harvard' from the Ivy League."
Virginia, No. 3 this season, defeated Maryland, 8-6, last season in the NCAA championship game.
In the regular season, Harvard defeated Maryland, 7-5, in freezing temperatures at Harvard. The Maryland players believe they can reverse that score on a warm day.
When Fink was asked why she believed Maryland would shed its runner-up tag this year, she said, "Maybe the two championship losses are why I think things will be different."
Terhorst, who came to Maryland from St. Mary's High in Annapolis and Division II Slippery Rock, said: "We've always been second, but this is our year. All we need to do is play strong in both halves and we'll be OK."
Terhorst transferred to Maryland from Slippery Rock after one season.
"When I first came out of high school, I didn't know if I was good enough to play Division I," Terhorst said. "But when Slippery Rock dropped their program, I decided to come back home and play at Maryland. It's been great playing here because my father [Richard] is my biggest fan, and I can hear him hollering at me from the stands. That helps me a lot."
Frendberg said she and her teammates hear the comments "from people" about the back-to-back second-place finishes, but they haven't allowed the remarks to get in the way of their mission this season.
"We keep all that in the back of our minds to motivate us, but we don't lose focus of what we have to do on the field to win," said Frendberg, who was an All-American last season as a junior and came to Maryland from Worthington, Ohio.
"We've all worked so hard for three years to win a championship, and now I believe we can do it because we're focused, we're a close team and we have people who can score at all positions," Frendberg said.
So, all second-year Maryland coach Cindy Timchal has to do is push the right buttons, right?
"Not really," Timchal said. "We have some good talent, but Harvard, Virginia and Penn State might be a little better overall."