TOWSON, Md. -- Top-seeded Maryland utilized a balanced attack and a solid ground ball advantage to defeat No. 5-seed Northwestern 9-6 Friday in the semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship in front of 8,256 fans at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Kelly McPartland led Maryland (22-1) with a hat trick while Brooke Griffin and Zoe Stukenberg each chipped in with two goals. Senior Beth Glaros added three points on a goal and two assists. The Terps mustered a critical 14-5 advantage in the ground ball category, paced by two each from Glaros, Taylor Cummings, Shanna Brady and Casey Pepperman.
Maryland was able to counter in a big way, however, posting a demonstrative 4-0 run, including two tallies in the final 1:33 of the period for a 5-2 lead at the break. McPartland notched two goals in the stretch while Stukenberg and Glaros also got in on the scoring for Maryland. The Terps were also aided by a decisive 9-3 ground ball advantage through the first 30 minutes of play.
Northwestern snapped a nearly 25-minute scoring drought with a free position goal by Alyssa Leonard 5:30 into the second half before Maryland was able to negate the goal with a Glaros score at 23:13.
McPartland continued to facilitate the offense in the second half, finding Stukenberg for a Maryland goal at 16:19 and Griffin tacked on another score with a highlight-reel shot 14 seconds later for an 8-3 Terrapin lead.
Kara Mupo halted the 3-0 Terrapin scoring drive with a tally at 9:21 but once again the Terps countered with yet another goal from McPartland – her third of the game – for a 9-4 lead.
Northwestern cut the score to 9-6 with consecutive goals from Kelly Rich and Mupo with less than five minutes to play but was unable to get any closer as the Terps punched their ticket to the national title game for a second straight season.
In addition to ground balls, Maryland also topped the Wildcats in draw controls 10-7 led by four from Cummings.
With the win, Maryland will make its 22nd berth to the national championship game. The Terps are 11-10 in the previous 21 appearances.