Terps women rule ACC

Maryland tops Virginia in title game, 13-5

April 26, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Maryland women's lacrosse team seemed vulnerable for almost a day.

Less than 24 hours after the Terrapins had their worst second-half performance of the season, top-ranked Maryland reverted to form, saving its best for last to run away with a 13-5 victory over No. 2 Virginia and capture the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship yesterday.

The Terrapins (15-0), winners of 23 straight, put together another patented second-half run, overwhelming the Cavaliers with an 8-2 spurt in the final 28: 10. It was only Saturday that Maryland received its biggest scare of the season when it allowed North Carolina to score the final seven goals in regulation before edging the Tar Heels, 19-17, in overtime.

But yesterday, Maryland didn't have to fret over the closing minutes before the crowd of 518 at Henry Stadium, and has now outscored its opponents 112-46 after halftime.

"A great team is going to hit you when you're down," Virginia coach Julie Myers said. "And they hit us hard when we were down and unorganized."

The Cavaliers (12-4), last year's tournament champions who had won seven consecutive games, strayed from their game plan and never found their spots against Terrapins goalkeeper Alex Kahoe. Despite stressing the importance to shoot high and away from Kahoe's stick side, Virginia consistently tested her low and in her strong areas.

Kahoe, in turn, stopped a season-best 18 shots and held the Cavaliers to two goals in the last 38: 15. It was a quick turnaround for Kahoe, who allowed 17 goals on Saturday -- the second-highest total in Maryland's 25-year varsity lacrosse history.

"You have to learn something from it and move on," Kahoe said. "It's a hard game to think about, even now. You can't do that to yourself, especially if you're a goalie."

Maryland coach Cindy Timchal added: "The great teams and the great players come back. The best goalies in the world give up goals. When you come back and have a performance like in Alex's case, you're looking at a champion."

That bought time for Maryland's offense to figure out Virginia, which gives up an average of just 17 shots a game and frustrated the Terrapins with various double teams and interceptions of passes over the middle.

Leading only 5-3 at halftime, Maryland turned two Cavaliers turnovers into goals, pushing the margin to 7-3 seven minutes into the second half when Kristin Sommar's pass inside inadvertently sailed into the goal.

Samm Taylor scored unassisted for Virginia less than two minutes later, but Maryland's Allison Comito had two goals and an assist in a 4-0 run that moved the Terrapins ahead, 11-4, with 7: 06 left in the game.

Maryland, which hasn't lost since April 11, 1998, has only been outscored twice in the second half this season and has won by seven goals or more 11 times.

"Learning from what happened [Saturday], we just picked it up," Maryland midfielder Christie Jenkins said. "We played stronger and that carried us to the win."

Maryland, however, had troubles finishing off Virginia in the first half. Jen Adams, the tournament MVP, skipped in a shot with 11 1/2 minutes remaining in the half, giving the Terrapins a 4-1 lead.

Virginia's Jamie Haas scored twice in two minutes to pull the Cavaliers to 4-3 before Adams set up Quinn Carney on the crease to extend the Terrapins' margin back to two goals. The Cavaliers had a chance to close to within a goal again, but Kahoe stopped Jessica Hull's free-position shot with five seconds left in the first half.

That carried over into the second half, when the Terrapins pulled away for their second ACC championship as well as 10th straight victory over Virginia.

"I would love another opportunity to play Maryland and win," Taylor said. "I don't want to lose to that team anymore."

Pub Date: 4/26/99

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