Take five: Terps rout Virginia for title, 16-6

UM women champs for fifth year in row

May 17, 1999|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Maryland coach Cindy Timchal had a one-word reaction to her team's performance yesterday in winning its fifth straight National Collegiate Women's Lacrosse Championship.

"Wow."

The No. 1 Terrapins matched, if not exceeded, their season's best overall team performance in a 16-6 rout of No. 2 Virginia before 4,250 at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field.

"I didn't think it could get any better," said Timchal, who has taken the Terps to the final eight of her nine seasons. "This fifth title was really all about Maryland's conviction to play with a lot of heart and intensity. I'm just so proud that they could believe that this could happen."

Yesterday's victory, led by four goals from tournament MVP Jen Adams and 18 saves by Alex Kahoe, wasn't even as close as the 10-goal margin would indicate. The Terps rolled up a 16-2 lead before Virginia scored four times in the last five minutes with most of Maryland's defensive starters on the bench.

In winning their 28th straight game and their sixth title in eight years, the Terps beat the Cavaliers for the 11th straight time, the third time this season and the third time in the past four national title games.

"They're tough to get in a championship game. They're always at their best. They're ready to go," said Virginia coach Julie Myers, whose team lost, 11-5, in last year's title game.

"You have your best crack at them earlier on when they may be thinking ahead about that championship game, but if you get them in the finals, they don't miss a beat."

The Terps' fifth crown polished off the third perfect season in team history. Their 21-0 record is their best, surpassing 17-0 in 1995 and 19-0 in 1996.

After facing the toughest schedule in Division I, the Terps kicked into a higher gear in Friday night's semifinal, emerging from a four-goal deficit to beat No. 5 Penn State, 17-13.

Against Virginia (15-6), the Terps never faltered, scoring the first four goals and cruising to an 11-2 halftime lead. They set championship game records for most goals in a half, most goals in a game and margin of victory.

Terps junior defender Tonia Porras is used to Maryland's boosting its game in postseason.

"I think it has to do with the way Cindy coaches us," said Porras. "She really emphasizes playing with heart and desire. When it comes to tournament time, there's so much more intensity. She forces us to look within ourselves, and I think that's what forces us to step it up."

The Terps' balanced attack, which set a school record with 331 goals this season, proved too much for the Cavaliers. Facing five Terps with more than 60 points each, the Cavaliers struggled to cover every threat. All seven starters in Maryland's attack scored at least one goal.

"All seven girls can play attack, and we have to be aware of all seven girls," said Cavaliers defender Stephy Samaras. "Virginia defense has always been an aggressive style, and that could have helped us a lot and hindered us a lot."

The Terps scored three free-position goals, but more often they simply got good looks at the goal. Several goals stood out -- Megan McNamara stumbling to bat in a Quinn Carney pass, Kristin Sommar feeding Allison Comito with a bounce pass, Adams swiping a backhanded shot that simply redirected a Carney feed and Carney firing over her shoulder.

Carney, who stepped on a ball and sprained her ankle Friday night, finished with five assists -- one shy of the school record.

Kahoe faced a barrage after the break, making most of her 11 saves in the half during a stretch in which the Cavaliers failed to score on 18 straight shots. Virginia outshot the Terps, 36-34.

Although Kahoe made some terrific saves in the game, the defense led by Porras, Sommar, Christie Jenkins, Courtney Martinez, Kerri Mulligan and Tori Wellington put so much pressure on the Cavaliers that they couldn't get many high-percentage shots.

"A lot of them were coming in just trying to shoot, shoot, shoot," said Porras. "Our defense did a great job, because we weren't allowing them to get close enough to take a good shot. We were stopping them at the eight-meter [arc]."

The question now is who will stop Maryland next year. This title team includes no seniors.

Virginia 2 4 -- 6

Maryland 11 5 -- 16

Goals: V--Taylor 3, Haas, Hook, Hull; M--Adams 4, Sommar 3, Carney 2, Jenkins 2, Comito 2, McNamara 2, Egan. Assists: V--Haas, Hook, Sambus; M--Carney 5, Sommar 3, Adams, Jenkins. Saves: V--Segarra 1, McCarthy 9; M--Kahoe 18.

Pub Date: 5/17/99

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