Hoyas stand between No. 1 Terps, perfection

Maryland women seeking 7th straight NCAA lacrosse title

May 20, 2001|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

About 5 o'clock this afternoon, Courtney Martinez will forget all about the pain - especially if she and her teammates are hoisting No. 1 Maryland's seventh straight national women's lacrosse championship trophy.

Martinez, the Terps' defensive spark, is a walking ice bag after a game. Despite several foot and leg injuries, she goes all out on the field.

In Friday night's 14-7 NCAA Division I semifinal win over Princeton, the senior was all over the place - knocking down passes, scooping up ground balls and lighting up the transition.

"She's one of our toughest defenders - very tenacious, very quick," said Maryland coach Cindy Timchal. "She loves to compete. She really rises to the occasion in these tough games."

Martinez and the rest of the Terrapins will try to rise to the biggest occasion of all against No. 3 Georgetown in the NCAA final at 3:10 p.m. at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field.

Martinez, who helped Loch Raven win three state high school lacrosse titles, isn't the only Terp playing with pain. Just to name a few, Meg Carrington is running with a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament and Sonia Judd is back after suffering a stress fracture in her foot.

Friday night, Martinez was one of several players - often overshadowed by big scorers Jen Adams and Quinn Carney - who carried the Terps through a rough early stretch for the two All-Americans.

Freshman Kelly Coppedge scored three first-half goals and junior Courtney Hobbs contributed three more to give the Terps a 6-3 halftime lead. Once Adams and Carney broke out, the Terps rolled.

"We hadn't played our best lacrosse yet and we knew it," said Martinez. "Obviously, we were trying, but there's always this happening or that happening. We've had a lot of injuries. In the final four, we knew we couldn't wait any longer and everybody just stepped up. [Today] is going to be even better.

Against Georgetown, the Terps (22-0) will face a formidable challenge in their quest for a 10th national title and the program's third unbeaten season.

In their first trip to the final, the Hoyas have made it clear they will not be happy unless they win the championship.

They showed their determination in Friday night's 10-9 victory over Loyola when Gloria Lozano scored the game-winner in the final seven seconds. The Hoyas rallied from four goals down at the half - the biggest halftime deficit overcome on championship weekend.

The Terps handled the Hoyas pretty easily in last month's 13-9 victory, but Georgetown is still dangerous. A year ago, the Hoyas nearly beat the Terps in the quarterfinals, falling on Judd's goal in the final two minutes of overtime.

The Hoyas have had injury troubles, too, most notably an anterior cruciate ligament injury to All-America goalie Bowen Holden.

They also have a balanced attack, led by All-American and Notre Dame Prep graduate Sheehan Stanwick, who scored five goals in the earlier meeting despite a solid defense from Martinez.

Hoyas coach Kim Simons said her team has regrouped from that defeat. They haven't lost since, winning nine in a row.

"Do I think this team has the ability able to play and beat Maryland? Yes I do," said Simons. "But I also know what Maryland's capable of. I know what their history is. I know how they play in national championship games.

"For us to be able to win [today] ... we need to make sure we put the game plan in place and we have the mentality that we had in the second half of our game [Friday night]."

The Terps, who have won 42 straight games and 19 consecutive NCAA tournament games, may be more determined to win this title than any other - especially with 10 seniors in the lineup.

"It's bittersweet," said Carney. "We're really looking forward to the game. I think it's going to be the best game of our career, but it's sad to see it ending. I can't believe it's over, but it'll be fun. It'll be a bang."

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