Terps' lacrosse reign is over

Cornell women eliminate 7-time defending champs from NCAA tourney, 14-4

May 13, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

ITHACA, N.Y. - An inspired Cornell women's lacrosse team finally did what 21 straight opponents had failed to do - knock Maryland out of the NCAA tournament.

The No. 6 Big Red not only ended the No. 8 Terrapins' run of seven straight national championships yesterday, but also did it in overwhelming fashion, 14-4, at rainy Schoellkopf Field. Not since 1976 had the Terps lost a game by 10 or more goals.

The Terrapins (11-10) will not advance to the final four for the first time since 1989. Cornell, in only its second NCAA tournament appearance, will meet No. 2 and top-seeded Georgetown in Friday night's 5:30 semifinal at Loyola.

"We're disappointed, because we didn't play to our potential by any means," said Terps junior Sonia Judd. "It's very hard to swallow. I don't think we in any way overlooked Cornell, but they came out with a great game and we didn't match up to it."

The Terps had the most trouble matching up with Towson High School graduate Jaimee Reynolds, who led the Big Red (16-1) with seven goals - one shy of the NCAA tournament record - and two assists.

Cornell's all-time leading scorer and the Ivy League Player of the Year, Reynolds had two goals and two assists in a 5-0 run that gave the Big Red a 5-1 lead midway through the first half.

"They kind of threaded the needle on us," said Maryland coach Cindy Timchal. "She likes to come off and receive on the left side. That really hurt us in the first half. She's tricky. She just needed a little space to be able to score."

The Terps tried to mark Reynolds one-on-one, but she repeatedly found the seams in their defense. The 5-foot-11 senior scored on every shot she took. Neither 5-11 Meredith Egan nor Greta Sommers could contain her.

"They didn't ever double her," said Cornell coach Jenny Graap. "Most of Jaimee's goals were one-on-one. I think that was just a mistake on their part. She's deadly on both sides and they needed defense on both sides."

The Big Red had suffered its only loss to No. 2 Princeton, 10-6, and that was the only time it was outshot and the only time it allowed the opposition to score in double figures. Cornell barely outshot the Terps, 30-29, yesterday.

For the Terps, comebacks have been difficult this season. They went 0-7 when trailing at the half. They also went 0-5 when they scored less than 10 goals.

Yesterday, Maryland looked nothing like the team that ran up a 5-0 lead and rocked No. 5 Loyola, 13-8, in Thursday's NCAA opener. Against a pressure-packed Big Red defense, the Terps were held to four goals for only the third time in 18 years.

After the Big Red's initial blitz, the Terps recovered only enough to pull within 5-2 and 6-3, but Reynolds scored the last goal of the half for a 7-4 lead. Cornell then scored three straight to open the second half and all but put the game away.

The Cornell players, whose strength of schedule was ranked 23rd compared to Maryland's No. 1, were out to prove something yesterday by ending the longest active winning streak in Division I sports.

"It was extra motivation that they're known to be such a strong team and it felt like we were almost being looked aside," said Reynolds. "It was almost like people looked at us as invisible."

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