Stellar defense lifts Terps to final
Mollison, Schwarzmann score four goals apiece for Terps
STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Sarah Mollison and Katie Schwarzmann scored four goals each, Laura Merrifeld added three and top-ranked Maryland beat Duke 14-8 on Friday to reach the women's lacrosse championship for the 20th time.
The Terrapins (21-1) will defend their national championship against Northwestern on Sunday.
"We're really thrilled about where we are right now," Maryland coach Cathy Reese said.
Emma Hamm scored three goals and Kim Wegner added two for Duke (15-5), which was seeking its first appearance in the title game. Molly Quirke, Sarah Bullard and Christie Kaestner also scored for the Blue Devils, who could not overcome 18 turnovers and 20 fouls.
Beth Glaros, Kristy Black and Alex Aust also had goals for Maryland, which has outscored opponents 48-20 in the tournament. The Terps also beat Duke 18-11 in February.
The Blue Devils couldn't overcome Mollison's presence, becoming the third team to allow at least four goals by the Australian star and ACC player of the year.
"I think it's because you can't run through the crease in women's lacrosse, you can only do so much with Sarah Mollison," Duke coach Kerstin Kimel said. "She's mastered everything through the crease when you play her, and I think that's a pretty fair statement."
Mollison took seven shots, six that reached the goal and four that went past Duke goaltender Mollie Mackler. Mollison's second consecutive four-goal game gave her 12 for the tournament and 35 in NCAA tournament games.
"I do like to play that position, and I do think that it is strength," Mollison said. "But at the same time my teammates work for me and I try to work for them. I think that's what makes us so successful and enables to be the team (we are)."
Mollison scored two goals in a span of a 2:40 that put the Terrapins up 3-1 with 10:51 left in the first half. Her third put Maryland up 7-2 just over 3Â½ minutes into the second half, and the final goal gave the Terrapins a 10-4 edge with 19:57 remaining.
"Coming into to today's game, you look at Sarah and you look at everything everyone has done trying to stop here and it doesn't work to be totally honest," Kimel said. "It's a total tribute to her and honestly we just decided we were going to play her straight up man-to-man and try to do a great job of covering cutters in the front, which we did."
Schwarzmann scored three of her goals in the second half, including an unassisted tally with 2:42 remaining after Duke scored three times to get within five.
The sophomore midfielder also scored with 4:28 left in the first half, just over five and a half minutes into the second and again with 12:34 to go.
Merrifield scored Maryland's first goal six minutes into the contest and the Terrapins' final goal of the first half with 1:46 left that made it 5-2. She also scored the first goal of the second half 90 seconds in.
Schwarzmann, who scored five goals Maryland's earlier victory over Duke, assisted on two Mollison goals. She also scored with 4:28 remaining in the first half.
Maryland seemed to be cruising to the title game for most of the second half before Brittany Dipper gave up goals to Bullard and Kaestner in a span of 38 seconds. Just over a minute later, Hamm scored her third goal off a feed from Kaestner.
The Blue Devils squandered numerous two more big opportunities before Maryland regained possession with a little over three minutes remaining and sealed the win.