The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday December 7th

North Carolina women's lacrosse seeks first national title

The Tar Heels will take on Maryland in the women's lacorsse national championship game Sunday night.

When the No. 3 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team defeated No. 2 Northwestern for the first time in the NCAA Tournament semifinals Friday — after falling to the Wildcats twice previously in the final four — the Tar Heels tied a school record for most wins in a season: 17.

In tonight’s championship game against top-ranked Maryland (22-0), the Tar Heels (17-3) will not only have a shot at breaking the single-season record for wins, but more importantly at claiming the program’s first-ever national title.

“It’s awesome just because of the people that have paved the way for Carolina lacrosse,” said junior attacker Abbey Friend. “There’s been some amazing players, so I’m kind of surprised we tied the record, just because of how good we’ve been in the past.

“But it’d be awesome if we could keep it going.”

Tonight, UNC will again be seeking postseason redemption as the team has already fallen to the Terrapins twice this year — once in the regular season and again in the ACC championship game.

But coach Jenny Levy said she doesn’t want her players to focus too much on their opponent but rather to look at tonight as just another game.

“Whether the game is another shot at Maryland or the right to play on the last day of the season in 2013, I think it’s the latter for us,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, and just happens to be the third time we’re playing them, but so be it.

“We’re not just happy to be here but are excited to compete, because I feel like this team is peaking at the right time and really still climbing.”

Coming off Friday’s 11-4 defeat of Northwestern, UNC is looking to translate the dominance it played with on both sides of the field against the Wildcats to the title game.

UNC kept the Wildcats off-balance seemingly the entire game by rotating between multiple defensive sets.

Redshirt sophomore defender Margaret Corzel said the team will likely implement a similar defensive game plan to stop a tough Maryland attack that the Tar Heels had problems with in their April 12-8 ACC title game loss.

“We’ll probably switch it up again (defensively),” she said.” “We just need to make sure we come out with the intensity that we had on Friday night and not let Maryland get on any little runs.

“We’re anticipating it to be a different game than it was in the ACC final.”

Although she admitted she felt her team’s offense left some points off the scoreboard due to minor miscues, Levy said the Friday was one of the best complete game efforts UNC has set forth in her 18 years of coaching.

“Not only is that the best our defense has played all year but it’s the best we’ve played from front to back,” she said. “Physically and emotionally we were spot on and it was the most complete game I felt like as a coach, maybe in my career, that a Carolina team has played.

“We put our best foot forward in all categories, and we feel really good about it.”

And while one more win will earn UNC both the record for most wins in a season and its first national title, building off the team’s best game of the season is nothing short of ideal for the Tar Heels.

Game Notes
  • The game will be played at Villanova Stadium in Villanova, Pa. at 8 p.m., and be broadcasted on ESPNU and ESPN3.
  • The Terrapins defeated Syracuse 11-10 in the semifinals, earning a chance to play for the school’s 11th national title.
  • Maryland claimed its last championship in 2010 and made its most recent appearance in the title game in 2011, falling to Northwestern 8-7.
  • UNC fell to the Terrapins 14-13 on April 6 in College Park, Md., and 12-8 in the ACC championship game on April 28, while trailing the all-time series 21-10.
  • UNC lost its only previous appearance in the national championship to Northwestern 21-7 in 2009.
  • The game will feature three out of the five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top player. The players are UNC senior midfielder Kara Cannizzaro, Maryland senior midfielder Katie Schwarzmann and Maryland senior attacker Alex Aust.

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