No. 1 Terps rally past Penn State

Erasing 4-goal deficit, Maryland advances to 9th final in '90s

May 15, 1999|By KATHERINE DUNN | KATHERINE DUNN,SUN STAFF

Maryland's women's lacrosse team faced a new challenge in last night's National Collegiate semifinal -- digging themselves out from under a four-goal deficit.

Penn State took that lead in the first nine minutes, but the top-ranked and four-time defending champions had plenty of time to work with.

The Terrapins rallied to tie over the next 10 minutes and never again trailed en route to a 17-13 victory at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field. The 30 goals scored by both teams tied the tournament record.

Maryland (20-0) will meet No. 2 Virginia for the championship in a rematch of last years final at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Homewood Field. This will be Maryland's ninth appearance in the title game during the 1990s.

Determined not to let this year's final four be simply another coronation for the Terps, the No. 5 Nittany Lions (15-5) struck in the first 10 seconds as Jen Johnson fed Jen Webb off the opening draw. Although Maryland answered Penn State's first two goals, the Lions scored four unanswered goals for a 6-2 lead less than nine minutes into the game.

The Terps questioned the Lions' sixth goal, scored by Emily Mechem on a shot that hit the right pipe and careened off to the left of Terps keeper Alex Kahoe, but the officials determined that the ball had crossed the goal line before it popped out.

That call seemed to spark the Terps, who had not trailed by more than two goals all season. They answered with a 6-1 run. Jen Adams' free-position goal gave the Terps their first lead, 8-7, with 9: 48 remaining before halftime.

"It's really frustrating to see us play so well and then to see Maryland just chip away at it," said Penn State coach Julie Williams. "They're a pretty poised team and they came up big when they needed to."

Although the Terps, who have won 27 straight games, did not take the lead for good until early in the second half, they got a huge boost from Kahoe just before halftime. The Lions scored their first seven goals on nine shots, but Kahoe made four saves late in the half to keep the Lions from pulling ahead.

Kahoe stopped Johnson's eight-meter attempt with 23 seconds left. Then after Mechem headed to goal, Kristin Sommar checked the ball away from her with eight seconds left to preserve a 9-8 lead at the half.

Colleen O'Brien tied it early in the second half, but the Terps answered with the decisive run of the game.

Sommar spotted Christie Jenkins cutting through the middle and hit her with a high pass. Jenkins turned and converted the shot for a 10-9 lead. When Meredith Egan controlled the next draw, Adams broke ahead of the Lions defense and slipped the one-on-one shot past goalie Megan Ames. Sommar then hit Jenkins again for a 12-9 Terps lead.

"That run was really what broke our backs a bit," said Williams. "That really pushed them over the edge and kept us running after them."

Kahoe, who finished with 13 saves, had several critical stops in the second half. Her point-blank deflection against Julie Tice's behind-the-back shot clipped a potential rally after Mechem had pulled the Lions within 13-11.

"That really upped our level of intensity," said Jenkins, "because those saves enabled us to quickly turn around and get the ball down on our end where we like to have it."

After Kahoe stopped Tice's shot, Adams, Quinn Carney and Jenkins then scored three straight goals to give the Terps their biggest lead, 16-11, with 7: 14 to go.

In another record-setting outing for the Terps, Adams surpassed another Kelly Amonte mark. With four goals and two assists, the sophomore now has 112 points this season, slipping past Amonte's 110. Adams, who has had at least one point in 33 straight games, had already passed Amonte's single-season goal mark and now has 67.

Tice, a Severn graduate, set an NCAA record for most assists in the tournament with 11, breaking the old mark of seven.

Pub Date: 5/15/99

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