Terps women make major statement, 9-8

With '02 in mind, OT win over Duke is huge boost

College Lacrosse

March 07, 2003|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - It was a sight that has been common for women's lacrosse teams at Maryland.

The Terrapins rushed onto the field after the final whistle to mob teammates, followed by a half lap around the field amid loud cheers.

It didn't matter that it's still the first week of March, not May - the month that has been so kind to the 10-time national champions.

The fourth-ranked Terps had plenty of reasons to celebrate yesterday's 9-8 overtime win over second-ranked Duke before 432 brave fans at a frigid and damp Artificial Turf Facility.

Sophomore Acacia Walker scored at the 1:51 mark in the first of two mandatory six-minute overtime periods, and senior goalie Alexis Venechanos finalized a 12-save day with several key stops as Maryland improved to 3-0, 2-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"It was a great win for our program," said Terps coach Cindy Timchal. "It took us some time to really settle in and know in the second half that we were going to win this."

The Blue Devils (3-1, 2-1) beat Maryland, 9-8, last year in the season opener, ending the Terps' 43-game winning streak and providing an ominous start to a season in which the Terps went 11-10 and winless in the conference.

"I think we had a lot to say from last year, a lot on our minds," said Walker, an Annapolis alumna who had three goals and two assists. "We waited for this game for an entire year, and we weren't just going to let it slide by.

Added Venechanos: "We're usually the hunted, not the hunters, but now, we're a little of both. We usually start on top. Now, we have to work are way up there, and this was a big step."

The Terps were able to take the step largely because of Venechanos, who stopped Duke freshman Katie Chrest's free-position shot in the first overtime. That save was made just 50 seconds after Walker whipped the game-winning goal past Blue Devils goalie Megan Huether.

Duke did beat the Terps' senior with 1:52 left in the second overtime, but the goal was nullifed because Kristy Dirks was ruled in the crease. Venechanos then turned aside a close shot from Lauren Gallagher, and the Terps ran out the clock.

"You're not going to get many more opportunities than we did today," said Duke coach Kerstin Kimel, whose team outshot her alma mater, 29-20, but lost 14 of 21 draw controls. "We had the ball in the hands we wanted it in and they took weak-side, low shots, which are tough to save for any goalie, and she saved them."

Two goals from Maryland's Kelly Coppedge (game-high four), along with a score from Duke's Cheryl Lynn Horton, made the score 8-7 Maryland with 23:53 to play.

It stayed that way for more than 19 minutes, before Maryvale graduate Chrest tied the game with her third goal of the day.

Venechanos stopped a Kate Kaiser shot with eight seconds to play, forcing overtime.

"There's a lot of lacrosse left in the season, said Timchal, "but this gives our program some confidence."

Duke 6 2 0 0 - 8

Maryland 5 3 1 0 - 9

Goals: D-Chrest 3, Bennett, Dirks, Gallagher, Horton, Miller; M-Coppedge 4, Walker 3, Cox, Judd. Assists: D-Gallagher 2, Laschinger 2, Miller; M-Walker 2. Saves: D-Huether 6; M-Venechanos 12.

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