April 24, 2012

Terps Top North Carolina for Fourth Straight ACC Title

from staff reports | Photo Gallery

Katie Schwarzmann was named ACC tournament MVP on Monday after the Terps' 14-10 win over North Carolina.
© Greg Shemitz (file) 

DURHAM, N.C. - The Maryland women's lacrosse team upended top-seeded North Carolina 14-10 en route to its unprecedented fourth straight Atlantic Coast Conference title Monday.

Katie Schwarzmann was named tournament most valuable player after capping her stellar weekend with a six-point showing against the Tar Heels. The junior midfielder joined Karri Ellen Johnson with four goals each to lead the Maryland attack.

Monday's win was Maryland's third consecutive in the ACC championship against UNC (14-3). The victory avenged an early-April loss to the Tar Heels, and unlike that contest, the Terps were dominant from the first draw.

Maryland (16-3) tallied two goals in the first four minutes of the match, courtesy of scores from Johnson and Kristy Black. Both scores came via assists from Alex Aust, who finished the championship with an ACC tournament career record 13 assists.

Of the Terrapins' 41 goals in the tournament, 25 were assisted. That's 61 percent. Nationally, only 41 percent of all Division I goals this season have been assisted.

"Alex Aust has really improved throughout the season," North Carolina coach Jenny Levy said. "I watched their [semifinal] game against Duke, and she just picked them apart. If you go behind the cage with her, then you have to deal with Schwarzmann coming down. They play a nice team game. They share the ball well."

The Terps would go on to edge the Tar Heels 5-3 in the first stanza and, following an early UNC goal in the second half, erupted for a 3-0 run in-and-around the 25-minute mark. UNC attacker Abbey Friend scored to stop the drive at 21:56 but Maryland outscored the Tar Heels 5-1 in a 10-minute span midway through the second half.

The Terps were able to sustain a pesky 4-0 run from North Carolina with time winding down in the match, which was Maryland's third in the last four days. After a late five-minute stall by the Terps, Johnson capped the scoring with 27 seconds left.

Maryland's championship is its ninth in program history. In addition to Johnson, Schwarzmann and Aust, senior goalie Brittany Dipper landed on the ACC All-Tournament team. It was the fourth straight season the reigning IWLCA National Goalie of the Year was tabbed to the all-tournament team.

"We knew coming into tonight that this was going to be a great game with two teams full of talented players," Maryland head coach Cathy Reese said. "I am really proud of our team for the way that we handled the pressure and played this one out."

With four goals Monday, Schwarzmann ended the tournament with 11, a mark that ties the ACC championship record for scores in the championship.

For Maryland, nothing about this whole story was really that self-evident. For the first time since 2007, the Terps actually lost two regular-season conference games, including a 14-11 verdict at UNC on April 7. That result required them to win three games in four days in this event. Furthermore, they'd need to do it with as many as five freshmen on the defensive end.

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