Tar Heels Outgun Maryland in NCAA Title Rematch
Top-ranked North Carolina poured in 17 goals to knock off No. 2 Maryland in a rematch of the epic 2013 NCAA championship game. (Peyton Williams)
In-Game Blog Replay
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Both North Carolina
and Maryland were looking for redemption – the Tar
Heels’ aims a bit more recent after their first loss of the
season at Northwestern on Monday, whereas the Terrapins’ goal
reached back to the end of the 2013 postseason.
It was a rematch of the 2013 NCAA title game, which the Tar Heels triumphed 13-12 in triple overtime after losing to the Terrapins twice earlier in the season.
And North Carolina came out on top again, this time 17-15 in regulation.
Maggie Bill and Abbey Friend led North Carolina with four goals apiece in the win as four other Tar Heels garnered goals.
It was Maryland’s first regular season loss since 2012 and only their third loss to North Carolina in the same time.
Maryland dominated the draw 24-10, but North Carolina made up for it coming out with 22 groundballs.
“Groundballs are key, you can’t win big games without groundballs,” said North Carolina head coach Jenny Levy. “We challenged our team before the game to play tough and to win the 50-50 ball and take the risks that you need to take to make the sacrifice for the team to go get the ball.”
The first half started out tit-for-tat as Maryland opened scoring 51 seconds into the match with a Taylor Cummings goal. North Carolina, not to be outdone, won the following draw and scored off Maggie Bill nearly a minute later.
Matched scoring continued until Maryland began their first half barrage, scoring five unanswered goals. The Tar Heels did not make it back on the board until 15:11 remained in the first half with the Terps up 7-3.
The Terrapin lead stretched as high as 8-3 in the first half.
Maryland finished the first half with 14 draw controls compared to North Carolina’s six, a domination that detailed the Tar Heels’ struggle to answer the Terrapin score early.
“Obviously we really struggled on the draw all day, so if we weren’t going to gain possession on the draw, getting defensive stops were key for us,” said Levy, noting that defensive changes on groundballs helped turn the tide.
North Carolina scored four consecutive goals to pull within one before finally tying the game 9-all off a Friend unassisted fireball. Maryland ultimately pulled ahead before the halftime break with Zoe Stukenberg’s third goal of the game with 15 seconds remaining.
The Tar Heels finished the first half ahead in groundballs, 11-5.
North Carolina’s Sydney Holman opened scoring in the second half to tie the game, followed by a three-step goal by Aly Messinger to put the Tar Heels back on top with 22:29 left in the game.
“Trying to find more ways to get possession was one of our focuses coming out of halftime, both on the draw and on the defensive end,” said Levy on how they were able to counterattack to get back within reach of the victory.
Bill scored back-to-back goals to add to North Carolina’s five consecutive, unanswered goals opening the second half. Messinger earned the fifth goal of the run.
Maryland finally answered in the second half with a free position goal from Kelly McPartland at 14:43.
The Terrapins fell short in a last-chance effort scoring the final three goals of the game to cut the Tar Heel lead to two. Cummings scored two of the final three goals giving her four on the day.
It was the most goals allowed in a game by Maryland since they gave up 16 to Ohio State in 2009, and it was the first time in 2014 that the Terrapins had given up more than 10 goals.
“We’ll take what we can get. We can score in a lot of different ways. On a day like today, if the one-on-ones are working, we’ll take it,” said Levy. “Seventeen is a great day for our offense.”
In the North Carolina career notes, Friend now ties Becky Lynch for career points scored. The pair rank second overall with 228 points.
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