Nine months ago, Maryland squeaked by the North Carolina women's lacrosse team in the national championship game to claim its second consecutive title.
On Saturday, the No. 1 Terrapins once again held the slight edge, winning 8-7 over No. 4 UNC (3-2) at Fetzer Field.
In the title game, the Tar Heels took a 6-3 lead into halftime. But on Saturday, it was Maryland (3-0) who held a 4-1 halftime lead.
UNC was held scoreless for nearly 24 minutes in the first half. And after the Tar Heels scored their first goal and cut the lead to 3-1, Maryland took just 48 seconds to respond with a goal.
With 26:37 left in the second half, the Terrapins took a 5-2 advantage. That’s when UNC’s offense made its push.
In the next five and a half minutes, North Carolina scored three consecutive goals to tie the score. The goals were scored by three different players — senior attacker Aly Messinger, senior attacker Sammy Jo Tracy and junior attacker Sydney Holman.
The Terrapins and Tar Heels then traded goals to tie the score at six and seven. But UNC never led.
Maryland attacker Megan Whittle — who tormented UNC’s defense with four goals — scored the game-winner with 3:39 left in the game for her third goal of the second half.
The Terrapins outshot the Tar Heels 26-22, but North Carolina had a slim 9-8 advantage on draw controls.
“We wanted her to stay at home and be patient. I think overall, there was probably one or two that she wants back. I thought in the second half, she made some great saves in that she saw the ball well and attacked.” — Coach Jenny Levy on goalkeeper Caylee Waters' performance.
Entering Saturday’s matchup, junior attacker Molly Hendrick had scored 15 goals in UNC's first four games. She was held scoreless on four shot attempts against the Maryland defense.
Three numbers that matter
5: Five of the Tar Heels’ seven goals were unassisted. The other two goals came from a free position shot and an assist by Messinger early in the second half.
13: On Saturday, Waters — the reigning national goalie of the year — played the entire game and tallied 13 saves, tying her career-high.
3: North Carolina has now lost three consecutive games against Maryland. Before the losing streak, the Tar Heels had beaten the Terrapins twice in a row.
UNC will host Albany at 1 p.m. on March 6.
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