UM women's streak ends at 29 in 4th OT

UNC tops No. 1 Terps in lacrosse, 14-13

March 06, 2000|By James Giza | James Giza,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- With the clock running in the fourth overtime, North Carolina women's lacrosse goalie Melissa Coyne made one final, exhausted plea to teammate Kristin Off.

"I've had just about enough," said the sophomore from Towson High, who had 14 saves, "so go put the ball in the net."

Off didn't need to be told twice.

The senior's goal with 1: 30 left in the period gave the fifth-ranked Tar Heels a 14-13 sudden-death victory over No. 1 Maryland before 485 fans at Fetzer Field, ending the Terps' 29-game winning streak and crushing their aspirations for a second consecutive undefeated season.

North Carolina improved to 2-1, while Maryland fell to 1-1. It is the Terps' first loss since a 12-10 setback to the Tar Heels in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on April 18, 1998.

Until yesterday, the team had shrouded itself in a cloak of invincibility. The 29-game streak included last season's 21-0 record, capped by an NCAA title.

"I guess we're just going to have to start a new one," said Maryland coach Cindy Timchal, her voice hoarse from yelling. "Most national champions don't go undefeated in any sport. This is one game. It's obviously a huge disappointment for us, but Carolina played great."

The game's final play was a prime example of just how well the Tar Heels played.

North Carolina's Erin McInnes (Roland Park Country) raced behind the Maryland net searching for a teammate to cut through the Terps' defense.

Enter Off.

Off streaked toward the goal, McInnes whipped the ball to her, and she immediately slammed it into the left side of the net and past goalie Alex Kahoe for the score.

"We have a couple things that we've practiced that we go to if we need a goal, and I've practiced it so many times," Off said of her third goal of the game.

After the Terps took a 4-1 lead less than eight minutes into the game on a goal by Jen Adams, the Tar Heels clawed back. A goal from Off and two from Kellie Thompson (St. Mary's) gave North Carolina a 5-4 lead, and Maryland walked off at halftime with a 7-6 advantage.

In the second half, it was the Terps who battled back. With nine seconds left in regulation and the Tar Heels protecting an 11-10 lead, Maryland's Quinn Carney briefly saved the day.

The junior midfielder got enough of the ball with her stick to roll it into the net after Coyne deflected a shot from the Terps' Kristin Sommar. The game went to overtime.

"I have to credit our team. Even though we weren't playing our `A' game, we hung in there even though there were players that were struggling," Timchal said.

The Terps went up 13-11 in the second overtime after goals by Adams and Meredith Egan and needed to contain the Tar Heels for 1: 31. They couldn't.

Off scored her second goal and Julie Kickham got the tie with 28 seconds left. After a scoreless third overtime, the stage was set for Off's final blow.

"I think it just came down to the team that was better on the day," said Adams, who paced the Terps with three goals and an assist. "Give North Carolina complete credit. I think they played a great game, and maybe we weren't on top of our game so much."

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