Terps women spoil Princeton's plan, 7-6

Adams has answer to Tigers' slowdown

April 26, 2001|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Several opponents have succeeded in dominating possession and slowing the tempo against Maryland's No. 1 women's lacrosse team this season, but none has been successful.

Last night at Ludwig Field, No. 5 Princeton worked that strategy nearly to perfection, but the Terrapins (16-0) managed to pull out a 7-6 victory on Jen Adams' goal with 1:21 left in the game.

The Tigers (11-3) had possession for more than three-quarters of the game, but the Terps never trailed by more than a goal and they led by two midway through the second half thanks to their quick-strike offense.

"A lot of teams work with that strategy," said Adams, "but you need to be scoring to win a game. We take our shots fairly quickly when we get down there. We use a lot of transition and a lot of fast-break goals. They can hold the ball all game, but we can get it down there and score."

The Tigers were successful with that strategy through the first half of last year's national championship final, going into halftime with a 4-3 lead over Maryland.

The Terps turned up the tempo in the second half and turned the game around, setting an NCAA tournament record with 13 second-half goals to win their sixth straight national crown, 16-8.

Last night, the Terps could not get such a big jump on the Tigers in the second half, although back-to-back goals from Quinn Carney and Tori Wellington gave them a 6-4 lead with 13:04 left in the game.

When Maryland's Courtney Martinez won the next draw, things looked grim for the Tigers, but they never abandoned their deliberate, patient strategy. Julie Shaner came up with the big defensive play with 10:35 left, stealing the ball from Courtney Hobbs.

"We had to make a defensive stop, obviously," said Princeton coach Chris Sailer, "because they can be deadly when they get you in their spread offense.

"Jen Adams just kind of toys with you and they end up with all sorts of open people right in the middle as you're desperately trying to get the ball back."

Adams didn't get another good shot until after Kim Smith made a quick move on Martinez to bounce a low shot past Terps keeper Alexis Venechanos. Smith's third goal, coming on the heels of her teammate Lauren Simone's second goal, tied the game at 6 with 2:28 left.

With the game on the line - and the possibility of seeing a 35-game winning streak end - Adams showed why she is a two-time National Player of the Year.

Working on Tigers defender Rachael Becker, Adams got a quick step coming in from the right and sent a shot off the crossbar. When it came down, the ball deflected off the calf of Princeton goalie Meghan McInnes and into the net.

"They were doing a good job of sagging in and doing some good help defense," said Adams. "I was hoping to drive in and create a double-team or something. In the end, everyone cleared out and there was an open shot for goal."

The Terps, who outshot Princeton, 18-9, got a similar break in the first half when a Carney pass ended up in the net. From about 12 yards up top, Carney's pass was aimed at a teammate behind the goal, but the ball deflected off a Tigers defender and in, tying the game at 2.

"Very lucky," said Adams, who scored two goals. "Things like that - when it goes your way, someone's looking out for you."

The Terps have won nine straight against the Tigers and lead the series, 16-3. The last time Princeton beat them was in the 1994 national championship game. Since then, Maryland has gone 133-5, losing to only three teams - North Carolina (three times), Loyola and Duke.

Next up for the Terps is another Final Four rematch as No. 4 Loyola comes to Ludwig Field for a 1 p.m. Saturday game. The Terps beat Loyola, 17-7, in last year's tournament semifinal, but the Greyhounds have ended a long Terps streak before - breaking a 50-0 run on April 22, 1997. Still, the Terps lead the all-time series, 21-1.

Princeton 3 3 - 6

Maryland 3 4 - 7

Goals: P-Smith 3, Simone 2, Sherry; M-Adams 2, Hobbs 2, Carney 2, Wellington. Assists: P-Miller. Saves: P-McInnes 7; M-Venechanos 4.

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