April 23, 2010

UNC, Maryland to Meet for ACC Women's Title

from press releases

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The top-seeded University of North Carolina women's lacrosse team got four goals from Becky Lynch and three goals and two assists from Corey Donohoe and defeated fourth-seeded Duke, 14-4, in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament semifinals on Friday afternoon at Ludwig Field. UNC advances and will face second-seeded Maryland in the ACC championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m. The host Terrapins beat Virginia, 10-6, in Friday's second semifinal.

"The [Atlantic Coast Conference] is such a tough conference and Duke is a really good team," said North Carolina head coach Jenny Levy. "I thought the first half went really well. I wasn't happy with some of our feeds, but I thought the shots were good. We played a solid defensive game, too."

The win, Carolina's eighth in a row, improved the nationally top-ranked Tar Heels to 14-1 this season. Duke falls to 12-5.

In addition to the output of Lynch and Donohoe, the Tar Heels got two goals and two assists from Megan Bosica, a goal and three assists from Kristen Taylor and a goal and an assist from Emily Garrity. Jenn Russell, Laura Zimmerman and Kara Cannizzaro each scored single goals for UNC.

Logan Ripley went the distance in goal for Carolina and recorded 11 saves.

The win is Carolina's second in 10 days over the Blue Devils. UNC beat Duke 9-6 in the regular season in Chapel Hill on April 14. With the victory, Carolina retains the Carlyle Cup point it earned with a regular season win over the Blue Devils on April 14 in Chapel Hill. If Duke had won on Friday, it could have won back half a point in the annual multisport competition between UNC and Duke. Carolina leads 14.5 to 9.5 thus far in 2009-10. Carolina scored the first seven goals of the game and didn't allow a Blue Devils score until there was 11:04 left in the first half. Donohoe had three goals and two assists in the first half and Bosica scored twice in the first 30 minutes. The Tar Heels led 8-1 at the break.

The Tar Heels scored the first five goals of the second half to take a commanding 13-1 lead. Lynch, whose four goals were a game-high, accounted for three of the goals during a stretch that lasted 12:46.

The Tar Heels outshot Duke, 29-17, won the draw controls battle, 12-8.

The victory improved UNC to 4-10 in the ACC semifinals with wins in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2007 and 2010. The Tar Heels will be making their fifth appearance in the ACC championship game on Sunday.

UNC is 1-3 in ACC???Tournament finals, losing in 1998 to Virginia, in 2000 to Maryland and in 2007 to Virginia and winning in 2002 over Maryland. Carolina is now 10-12 all-time in 22 ACC Tournament games.

In the second semifinal, Laura Merrifield and Brandi Jones each netted hat tricks as No. 2 seed Maryland beat Virginia 10-6. Maryland, which shoots for its second-straight ACC tournament championship Sunday against top-seeded North Carolina, outscored Virginia, 8-4, including four free position goals, in the second stanza to move to 15-1 on the year.

A low-scoring affair headlined the first 30 minutes of action with both teams only managing two scores apiece. Virginia opened the match with a goal from Brittany Kalkstein at 23:30 before goals from Katie Schwarzmann and Jones provided the Terps with their first lead of the game at 17:08. A late goal from Kalkstein knotted the game at 2-2 after one half of play.

Maryland then opened the second stanza with a devastating 5-0 run, with two goals each off the sticks of Jones and Karri Ellen Johnson and a score from Merrifield to begin the scoring frenzy. Virginia finally brought the Terrapin rally to a halt at 15:42 when Kalkstein tacked on her third goal of the game. A fourth tally from the senior All-American cinched Maryland's lead to three at 14:14 before Caitlyn McFadden became the fifth Terrapin goal-scorer of the match with a free position goal at 12:41 for an 8-4 game.

Virginia briefly brought the lead back to three with a score at 8:10 but Merrifield capped her hat trick with a pair of goals 30 seconds apart around the closing minute for a five-goal cushion while the defense allowed the Cavaliers only more score for a 10-6 final.

Maryland ended the match with its best free position shot percentage of the year, nailing five of its seven attempts. The Terrapin defense stymied Virginia into six-of-13 clear attempts while causing seven Cavalier turnovers, led by three from freshman Iliana Sanza. Brittany Dipper picked up the win in goal after surrendering a mere six goals while making six saves.

"I thought we did a great job of kicking it gear in the second half and we got better as the half progressed," head coach Cathy Reese, who has won at least a share of the ACC regular season crown in each of her four seasons at the helm of the Maryland program, said. "I thought we played great defense, especially in the second half. When they were ready to go to goal, so were we."

Defending champion Maryland will play host to No. 1 seed North Carolina at 1 p.m. for the ACC tournament title at Ludwig Field. The game will be televised live on FOX Sports South.

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