Terps top Tar Heels, win ACC tourney
Laura Merrifield nets five goals, earns tourney MVP honors
CARY, N.C. - Using an explosive second half, No. 1 Maryland dropped North Carolina, 12-7, en route to capturing its third consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Lacrosse Championship crown.
Senior Laura Merrifield garnered championship Most Valuable Player honors after netting a game-high five goals and helping guide a stellar defense that allowed one of the nation's top offenses a mere one goal in the second half. Katie Schwarzmann, Sarah Mollison and Beth Glaros all added two goals as the Terps tallied its league-best eighth championship.
After trailing for the first time this season and facing a season-high three-goal deficit through 30 minutes of play, Maryland (17-0) sealed its 27th-straight victory with a devastating 8-0 run to cap the second half. The Terrapin defense did not allow North Carolina (12-5) to score in the final 26 minutes of the match.
In addition to Merrifield, senior Katie Gallagher, junior Brittany Dipper, Mollison and Schwarzmann were all tabbed to the all-tournament team. It is Dipper's third consecutive appearance on the team. After missing last season due to a battle with Crohn's Disease, Gallagher led the Terrapin defense with a game-high three caused turnovers and three ground balls.
"I am really proud of our team and the way that we pulled that out," head coach Cathy Reese, who captured her third title in only her fifth season at the helm of the program, said. "We made some adjustments at halftime and really wanted to step up our offensive game.
"I felt in the first half, credit to their goalie who was making some great saves, but I don't think we were choosing our shots as good as we could have. So going into the second half, we wanted to generate more offense and move off the ball and move for each other. When we did that, we were able to get some good opportunities and put some goals away."