No. 1 Terps establish position, win ACC

3rd straight women's title is at Duke's expense, 15-12

College Lacrosse

April 23, 2001|By Kelly Lusk | Kelly Lusk,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ORLANDO, Fla. - Maryland's women's lacrosse team had an answer for everything Duke offered in yesterday's Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

The top-ranked Terrapins defeated the second-seeded Blue Devils, 15-12, at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex to claim their third straight conference title.

And it wasn't all that easy.

"We're used to teams holding the ball against us," goalie Alexiz Venechanos said. "They really went strong to the goal."

Duke's strategy was evident when All-ACC midfielder Kate Kaiser (Notre Dame Prep) scored a free-position goal and midfielder Kate Soulier slammed a sidearm into Maryland's cage 1:13 later to put the Blue Devils up by two. But not for long.

Senior attacker and two-time National Player of the Year Jen Adams fueled Maryland's offense with a free-position goal after Duke defender Meghan Walters fouled her. Then Terps attack Allison Comito also connected on a free-position goal, 1:35 later, to tie the score at 2.

"It was our intention to take control as soon as possible," said Adams, who was chosen ACC Player of the Year for the second consecutive season Friday. "We had to make use of our 8-meters."

In a very physical game, free-position shots made the difference. Maryland scored four of its eight first-half goals on free-position shots; Duke gained three of its four first-half goals the same way.

Maryland took the lead when midfielder Sonia Judd ran around the backside of the Blue Devils' goal and dished a pass to Meg McNamara with 21:07 remaining. The Terps had found their offensive rhythm and outscored Duke, 5-1, in the last 18:32 of the half.

"We just didn't consistently connect on defense," said Duke coach Kerstin Kimel, who was a two-time All America selection at Maryland in 1992 and '93. "We made mistakes we don't usually make, but Maryland forces you to do that."

Adams whisked a shot between Duke goalie Kristin Foster's legs with 25:55 remaining to extend the Terrapins' lead to five.

With 24:42 remaining, Kaiser stick-checked Terp Kelly Coppedge at midfield and passed to Blue Devils attacker Lauren Gallagher, who penetrated Maryland's defense and nailed an overhand shot. Only 1:15 later, Coppedge capitalized on a free-position shot to trim the Terps' lead to three.

Once again, Maryland wasted no time responding. Midfielder Quinn Carney bounced in a free-position shot 1:01 later, and Adams added another goal to restore the Terps' lead to five.

"We had to look inside ourselves and not let them dictate," said Carney, the ACC tournament's MVP. "We got a little frustrated with the physical play, but we kept the momentum going in our direction."

Even two goals in 1:59 - compliments of Gallagher - that spurred Duke couldn't knock the six-time national champions off track. The Blue Devils outscored the Terrapins 8-7, but it wasn't enough to regain the lead.

Adams ended the game in typical fashion, scoring the Terps' final goal assisted by Carney with 2:51 remaining. That goal, her fifth, made her only the second player in NCAA women's lacrosse history to register 400 career points.

"This is that time of the season when everything comes together," Maryland coach Cindy Timchal said. "We knew it would be a tough game, but we passed the test."

Duke 4 8 - 12

Maryland 8 7 - 15

Goals: D-Gallaghor 3, Sullivan 3, Kaiser 2, Barnet, Bennett, Dirks, Soulier; M-Adams 5, Carney 3, McNamara 2, Comito 2, Coppedge 2, Hobbs. Assists: D-Gallaghor 2; M-Carney 2, Judd. Saves: D-Foster 5; M-Venechanos 6.

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