UM women fall to N. Carolina in first round

Terps exit in opening round 2nd year in row

North Carolina 9 Maryland 6

May 15, 2006|By BRYAN MANN | BRYAN MANN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Throughout the season, an experienced offense carried the Maryland women's lacrosse team, but in recent weeks it faltered. In yesterday's NCAA tournament game against fifth-seeded North Carolina, the downward trend continued.

Despite averaging 13 goals per game, the Terps (12-8) entered the tournament on a scoring lull as they scored just eight and nine goals in their previous two games, respectively.

In yesterday's first-round matchup against the Tar Heels (13-5), the offense produced even less, scoring the fewest goals it had all season as the Terps fell, 9-6, at Fetzer Field.

The loss eliminated Maryland from the tournament, handing the program and eight-time national championship-winning coach Cindy Timchal a second consecutive exit in the opening round of the postseason.

"We weren't really thrilled about the way the NCAA seeded us," Timchal said. "Success goes in waves, and Maryland will be back strong next year."

The Terps failed to capitalize on two breakaways and hit the post several times. When they were able to get strong shots on target, Tar Heels goalkeeper Kristen Hordy (10 saves) rejected them.

"We were in position and getting good looks. We were just not finishing," Timchal said.

It took the Terps 21 minutes to score their first goal. It came when sophomore midfielder Kelly Kasper (Century) forced a turnover deep in her own end, sprinted and weaved her way up the entire length of the field and fired a bounce shot into the net to chip away at the Tar Heels' four-goal lead.

The goal inspired a run as the Terps scored two more times and were within one goal going into the half, but it was the closest they would get.

In the second half Maryland's offensive struggles mounted as North Carolina controlled the ball for long stretches of time and outshot the Terps 17-10.

Maryland's defense never let the game get away, but the offense never could hold the ball long enough in the second half to mount any major comeback.

"All of a sudden we were uncharacteristically turning the ball over," Timchal said. "We did get a slow start, fought back but knew how tough Carolina was going to be in the second half."

Terps senior midfielder Delia Cox scored four times and was the lone Terp with more than one goal.

"I think we were taking good shots. Today Hordy had a lot of good saves," Kasper said. "But we also could have placed the ball well, and we should have more confidence in our shots."

The Terps have a long offseason to figure out how to regain the scoring touch they lost in the last three games. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels have only until Saturday to prepare for their quarterfinal game against the defending national champion and fourth-seeded Northwestern Wildcats. Northwestern beat North Carolina in regular-season play on April 21, 18-10.

Maryland 3 3 - 6

North Carolina 4 5 - 9

Goals: M-Cox 4, Kasper, Magor; NC-Dieringer 3, Juras 2, Freshwater, LaGrow, Ryan, Scurachio. Assists: M-Kasper 2, Magor 2; NC-McCarthy 2, Ryan Scurachio. Saves: M-Buote 8; NC-Hordy 10. A: 385.

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