Maryland women advance to NCAA championship game

McFadden scores four goals to lead top-seeded Terps

May 29, 2010|By Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

Caitlyn McFadden wanted just one thing for her 22nd birthday Friday and she got it — a chance to play for the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse championship.

The senior All-American scored four goals, including two in a six-goal finishing run, to lead the top-seeded Terrapins to a 14-5 win over Syracuse in the NCAA semifinals at Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

For McFadden, a midfielder who has collected almost every individual accolade including Tewaaraton Trophy finalist and two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, only the Terps' first national title since 2001 would make it a perfect birthday weekend.

The Terps (21-1) will meet the winner of Friday's late semifinal between five-time defending champion Northwestern, the No. 2 seed, and North Carolina, the No. 3 seed, at Unitas Stadium at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

"I'm so excited to have the chance to compete for a national championship," the Notre Dame Prep graduate said. "That's our goal all year. All the accolades are an honor, but this is what I really want to be fighting for."

That echoes the feelings of all the Terrapins, who returned their entire starting lineup after last season's national semifinal loss to North Carolina and are aiming for the program's 11th title in 15 championship game appearances — both more than any other program.

Despite all of McFadden's honors, the Terps have a balanced offense, getting two goals each from Laura Merrifield, Sarah Mollison, Karri Ellen Johnson and ACC Rookie of the Year Katie Schwarzmann. Johnson also had three assists.

"We knew they were a very good team, they were super athletic," Orange coach Gary Gait said, "and we were going to have to play a great game. We were going to have to step up and make plays, make shots, and unfortunately it didn't happen for us today."

Maryland, which won eight of 10 first-half draws, ran up an 8-2 lead on McFadden's goal to open the second half, but the unseeded Orange, in their second appearance in the final four, rallied.

The Orange did better on draws in the second half, but Gait said they didn't get the quality shots they were looking for. The Terps' defense held the Orange to five goals on 19 shots. McFadden held 67-goal scorer Christina Dove to one goal, although the Bel Air graduate scored another — the 250th of her career — when McFadden was out of the game.

Syracuse rallied midway through the second half, cutting into the 8-2 Terps lead with three straight goals, the last two from Michelle Tumolo. The Orange held Maryland scoreless for nearly 22 minutes, but the Terps seized the momentum when Johnson fed Schwarzmann to pull ahead 9-5 with 6:26 to go. That set off a run of five goals in exactly three minutes, punctuated by two from McFadden for a 13-5 lead.

"We did have a little drought there for a while where we were making some unnecessary turnovers, but this team found a way to fight back," Terps coach Cathy Reese said, "and were able to continue to push our transition, our fast break and to take care of the ball at the end of the game when [the Terps] were tired."

Early on, Syracuse managed to slow a Terps offense averaging 14.4 goals, by shutting down their crease game and allowing only two goals in the first 18:15. Merrifield, a 6-foot-1 midfielder, got the Terps started by rolling the crease and leaping to put a high shot past stellar Orange goalie Liz Hogan, who made nine saves and had a handful of key interceptions.

Syracuse 2 3 – 5

Maryland 7 7 --14

Goals: S—Dove 2,Tumolo 2, Quillinan; M—McFadden 4, Merrifield 2, Mollison 2, Schwarzmann 2, Johnson 2, Black, Aust. Assists: S—Ladouceur, Dove; M—Johnson 3, Bri.Jones, Mollison, Schwarzmann. Saves: S—Hogan 9, Mullan 0; M—Dipper 5.

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