December 25, 2013

Epic UNC-Maryland Final is #BestOfLax Game of the Year

by Sean Burns | | Twitter

A battle of rivals that went the distance and more, Maryland and UNC's NCAA finals is our choice for Game of the Year. (John Strohsacker/

See More: Full #BestOfLacrosse Winners

With due respect to the other contenders of this category, they all brought metaphorical knives to a proverbial gunfight as far as LM was concerned. The NCAA women's final tilt between North Carolina and Maryland had it all.

An undefeated team going for perfection. A league rivalry. A longtime 'close but no cigar' program looking for its first title. Huge clutch saves. Momentum swings. And three overtimes that were in one sense five, since the first two OTs were split into three-minute halves.

In the end, the Tar Heels struck last, ending the longest women's championship game in NCAA history on a sudden-death play that started with a big save by goalie Megan Ward and finished with freshman Sammy Jo Tracy finishing a Brittany Coppa feed in front of 9,391 lucky fans at Villanova Stadium.

"I told my husband before the game that it would probably go to overtime," North Carolina coach Jenny Levy said. "The game could have gone either way, but I just felt like if we were going to win, it was going to have to be in overtime."

Her prediction came true in epic fashion.

"There was one special moment, right before the third overtime, when our fans were chanting when we went to our bench," midfielder Kara Cannizzaro said. "I don't even remember what coach said in the huddle, but it was just amazing. You can't even really put it into words."

The only words needed to sum it up: Best game of 2013.

Fan Vote

The fans diverted from our staff on this one, selecting an inarguably great Detroit-Notre Dame NCAA first round tilt as their choice with over 50% of the vote. There was a lot to be said about that one, as it saw a Detroit team that barely made it into its own CONFERENCE tournament (which it scored two straight upsets to win) land body punches early to put the No. 2 seed Irish on the ropes before Notre Dame rallied to advance. The Carolina-Maryland tilt earned most of the votes that the Irish and Titans didn't, as the other three finalists managed just 12% of the total vote.

Detroit vs. Notre Dame (NCAA Men's 1st Rd) 56%
UNC vs. Maryland (NCAA Women's Final) 32%
Duke vs. Cornell (NCAA Men's Semifinal) 6%
RIT vs. Cortland (NCAA Men's D-III Semifinal) 4%
Canada vs. Australia (World Cup Prelim) 2%

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