Maryland will have to wait a little longer for a shot at another women's lacrosse championship, but it might not be that long.
North Carolina spoiled the No. 2 Terrapins' bid for a perfect season and a chance for a 10th national title Friday with an 8-7 victory in the NCAA Division I semifinals before an announced 7,549 at Johnny Unitas Stadium at Towson University.
Instead of battling four-time defending champ and No. 1 Northwestern for the crown Sunday, the Terps (21-1) are left thinking about next season. That thought eased - although just a little - the sting of Friday night's defeat, because Maryland had no seniors in its starting lineup.
Underclassmen contributed 60 percent of the scoring, led by Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year Karri Ellen Johnson, a freshman with 74 goals.
At the beginning of the season, the Terps had eight starting spots to fill, the biggest turnover among elite Division I teams, but Maryland coach Cathy Reese never doubted her youngsters.
She put them together with a few veterans, including Caitlyn McFadden, this season's ACC Player of the Year, and the Terps didn't skip a beat.
Friday, however, they never found an offensive groove, thanks in large part to Carolina's defense, which was solid all game and huge late, especially in Logan Ripley's point-blank save on Johnson with about three minutes to go and Amber Falcone's steal with 1:38 left.
"Losing's not fun for anyone," Reese said. "Fortunately, we didn't do that very often this season. But at the end of the game ... we said we need to sit back and think about it. We had an outstanding season.
"Coming into the NCAA tournament with the No. 2 seed and an undefeated season, I think that says a lot about this team, and we didn't start any seniors, so obviously as a coach, I'm very excited for next year."