May 26, 2014

Terps on Top: A Post-Game Celebration Play-by-Play

by Megan Schneider | | Twitter | May Madness Home

TOWSON, Md. — The intensity on the field heightened as No. 1 Maryland allowed No. 2 Syracuse to score four consecutive goals in a matter of three minutes at end of the second half, but the Terps held on to their lead as goalie Abbey Clipp started jumping up and down with one minute to go, realizing they would take home the NCAA women's lacrosse championship with a 15-12 victory in their final year in the ACC.

Holding hand-drawn Testudo posters, "Go Terps!" signs and mini state flags, Maryland fans screamed a deafening chant, "Let's go Maryland!" with Testudo by their side in the stands.

After Tewaaraton Award finalist and NCAA championship MOP Taylor Cummings collided with defender Shanna Brady in their game of keepaway, beating her stick on the ground with high energy and exhilaration, Casey Pepperman threw the ball high in the air down the field as the clock expired.

Confetti strands exploded behind the Maryland bench and the Terps sprinted toward Clipp, who soon became the bottom of a pile.

Happily greeted by Maryland's only starting senior Beth Glaros, Testudo then joined the celebrating champions with a big hug from captain Brooke Griffin.

"You played freaking awesome!" Nadine Hadnagy said to Griffin, followed by Cummings congratulating Erin Collins, proud of her performance this evening.

After being handed the walnut and bronze NCAA trophy, Griffin kissed it as Kelly McPartland screamed in her ear. But an NCAA official soon came up to them and said, "Sorry, I have to steal this from you, but don't worry, you'll get it back!"

It was time for the awards ceremony in Johnny Unitas Stadium at Towson University. The Terps, along with Testudo, raced to put on their championship t-shirts and don their championship caps backwards.

As Syracuse was announced as the runner-up, the Terps couldn't stand still. Testudo did a headstand, Reese hugged her son, and Cummings teared up as she embraced McPartland. Cummings' hat fell off as she leaned backward, but she laughed with no worries in the world.

Grinning ear to ear, Glaros clasped her hands in pure joy, then placed them on her knees, in shock that her team just won the national championship in her senior year. All weekend long, Cummings repeatedly said they had to win this for Glaros. She wanted this so bad, Cummings said.

Noticing the emotion as Glaros started to cry, Testudo picked her up for a hug as her headgear dangled from her wrist.

The crowd responded in an uproar as the Maryland Terrapins were pronounced the 2014 national champions in Division I women's lacrosse. One by one, the girls received their individual awards to commemorate Sunday's win, high-fiving each other on the way up and back to the awards table.

As Glaros and Cummings hugged Reese, the Maryland coach finally teared up right before she was called up for recognition. Then captains Glaros and Griffin accepted the trophy on the team's behalf and the cameras started shuttering. Draped in confetti, Cummings hopped right in front for the team picture.

But the celebration didn't stop there. The lady Terps strutted into their locker room, screaming at the top of their lungs, including a triumphant, "Thank you!" from Hadnagy.

The speakers blared music and freshman goalie Emily Kift joked with Tewaaraton Award finalist Megan Douty as they entered the locker room. All that could be heard was a, "Holler!" from Douty.

No doubt a dance contest was underway as the girls awaited the rest of the team. A twerk contest? Just maybe, as they shouted "Twerk!" over and over.

Kid Cudi came on the loud speaker just in time for a momentous entrance from Cummings, McPartland, Collins and Hadnagy who held the recently cut down lacrosse net over their shoulders. The only challenge of the night? Getting all four girls through the double doors without dropping the precious memento.

In walked Reese, and the girls erupted with a resounding, "Yeah Cathy!" She gave her team a short, but sweet post-game speech that they will never forget.

"We set our hearts out this year to put ourselves in this position and you know what? We did it! We're No. 1!" Reese exclaimed as Pharrell Williams' hit song, "Happy," played softly in the background.

"I am so proud of you. I loved every second of this. The best part of this battle is how you all helped each other. Way to go!"

Afterward, Kristen Lamon described the team's emotion following Reese's speech as "just pure happiness."

"Everyone that was on the field and the girls that were on the sidelines really gave it their everything," Lamon said.

The Terps turned the dial to an appropriate song for that moment: Ke$ha's "We R Who We R."

While jumping up and down, pounding their feet on the ground, the champions sung their hearts out: "Tonight we're going hard, just like the world is ours! We're tearin' it apart. You know we're superstars!"

Griffin trickled into the locker room with a lit-up sign that read, "Keep Calm and Maryland On," as Lamon, sporting a Go Pro camera on top of her hat, escaped the locker room for some fresh air.

"It feels like a million bucks out here! It's so hot in there!" Lamon said.

As Cummings, Glaros, Douty and Reese were about to head up to the post-game press conference, a song came on that they certainly could not miss – Queen's "We Are The Champions."

Then as they finally began to roll out of the locker room, Pepperman hugged Cummings and said, "I'm so proud of you!"

Cummings could not contain her excitement. She started doing jumping jacks.

"I can't even address these text messages right now," joked Cummings, checking her phone as friends and family congratulated her for a performance (three goals, eight draw controls) that could loom large in the Tewaaraton Award committee's final selection before Thursday's award ceremony.

During the post-game press conference, Lamon was on standby with her Go Pro recording every word. Cummings smiled and made funny faces to the small camera on top of her head.

"This year's team is obviously very special to us and just documenting the whole journey is what we wanted to do and it paid off," Lamon said. "Right now, we have amazing footage of our whole entire journey. I got all of my teammates' faces!"

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