April 6, 2013

No. 1 Terps Show Midfield Strength, Knock Off No. 2 UNC

by Clare Lochary | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | Live Blog Replay

Katie Schwarzmann scored five goals and fellow midfielder Taylor Cummings notched four as North Carolina focused its defensive attention on Terps attacker Alex Aust, the nation's leading scorer.
© John Strohsacker

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Even with ace attacker Alex Aust held to just one point, Maryland found other ways to score. The Terps' midfield led top-ranked Maryland to a 14-13 victory over No. 2 North Carolina, despite the tough face guard that the Tar Heels threw at Aust, the nation's leading scorer.

Maryland's midfielders scored 12 of the team's 14 goals, led by junior Katie Schwarzmann (five goals) and freshman Taylor Cummings, who scored four. The game featured eight ties and six lead changes before a record crowd of 2,347 in College Park, but the Terps' versatility lifted them to their fourteenth straight win.

"We thought they would face guard Alex from the beginning, so we decided to add a few plays in this week and it seemed to work," Cummings said.

North Carolina sophomore defender Courtney Waite, in her first career start, never strayed far from Aust's side, taking away Maryland's top feeder. The Terps adjusted, dodging from the top of the arc and creating one-on-one opportunities for the reigning Tewaaraton Award winner Schwarzmann, who scored her five goals on just six shots in addition to marking North Carolina's leading scorer, Kara Cannizzaro.

"We were moving the ball pretty well and our drives from the top were great. Katie stepped up today really big," Maryland coach Cathy Reese said. "That's one of the great things about our offense — we're going to find an opening. We've got seven people on the field who can score so if Alex is out of it for a little bit, we were able to open some opportunities up."

The Tar Heels had the draw advantage, especially in the first half when they won 11 of 17 attempts. Solid play from Terps senior goalie Kasey Howard (11 saves) kept the game tight, and by halftime the score was tied at 8.

After the break, freshman attacker Aly Messinger (two goals) put North Carolina up 9-8 at 25:58. It was the Tar Heels' last lead of the day. Maryland responded with a four-goal run, including two from Beth Glaros to take the lead for good.

Aside from a three-goal run in the first half when sophomore midfielder Brooke Griffin did her best Aust imitation and made three assist's from behind the cage in less than 90 seconds, all of the Terps' goals were the result of either penalty shots or inside looks created by dodging.

"Alex knew where to go with that face guard to open up her teammates and find some different looks off of that and everyone did a good job of moving to those spots," Schwarzmann said.

North Carolina hung tough late into the game, narrowing the gap to two goals twice. Tar Heels senior goalie Lauren Maksym finished the first half with a single save and was replaced at the break by freshman Meg Ward, who made six stops in the second half.

Cannizzaro, who finished with three goals, picked up two yellow cards and sat out the last 8:30 of the game, and while junior attacker Abbey Friend (three goals) scored twice late in the game, the Terps won the final draw and held out for the win.

"Aust is such a key part of their team and she's been just killing people from behind the crease, so we thought we'd employ a different strategy on that," North Carolina coach Jenny Levy said. "I thought that was effective, but we didn't so a great job on Schwarzmann. She's just a great player and we just didn't handle her today. For our girls, there are no moral victories. We didn't come here to have a tight game."

Reese was pleased to see the Terps battle through some uneven play and come out on top, especially before a record-setting crowd.

"I just thought it was a great game all around," she said. "We saw the ups and the downs from both teams and goals on both ends and saves on both ends. I'm excited we drew the crowd that we did."

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