May 26, 2014

Cummings, Glaros Lift Maryland to 11th NCAA Title

by Matt DaSilva | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | May Madness Home

In-Game Blog Replay

 

Maryland's Taylor Cummings, named most outstanding player of the NCAA championship, hauls in one of her eight draw controls to go with three goals in the Terps' 15-12 victory Sunday over Syracuse. (Bill Danielewski)

Maryland players hoist the NCAA championship trophy. The championship game drew a women's lacrosse record 10,311 fans to Towson. (Rich Barnes)

TOWSON, Md. — Men's lacrosse had the Thompsons. Women's lacrosse has Cummings and Treanor — and two more years to enjoy the unlikely confluence of their otherwise rare talents.

Taylor Cummings grabbed the upper hand Sunday in her emerging rivalry with Kayla Treanor, leading top-seeded Maryland to a 15-12 victory over second-seeded Syracuse in the NCAA championship game before a record 10,311 fans at Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

And while the sophomore sensations stole the show early, it was Maryland's lone senior starter, midfielder Beth Glaros, who provided the necessary cushion for the Terps (23-1) to win their 11th NCAA title. Glaros scored five goals, including two unanswered tallies midway through the second half that pushed Maryland's lead to 15-8.

"Having been to three final fours, we really didn't want to come up short in this one," said Glaros, whose breakout game as a freshman in 2011 came in an NCAA championship game loss to Northwestern. "It all just fell into place for us."

Glaros' insurance goals loomed large when Syracuse (21-3), which nearly erased a five-goal deficit in the first half, stormed back again late with four goals in less than three minutes. But three Orange turnovers in the waning minutes deflated the rally, sending the Terps to their second NCAA championship in five years.

"I think I've said seven times, 'This is the happiest day of my life,'" Glaros said. "Pulling it out on the big stage is really special."

You got the sense Sunday the big stage has not seen the last of Cummings and Treanor, both Tewaaraton Award finalists and already two-time first-team All-Americans as sophomores.

Cummings, named the NCAA championship's most outstanding player, dominated the one aspect of the game where Treanor could not match her: draw controls. Cummings snared eight of them, fueling the Terps' five- and four-goal runs in the first and second halves, respectively.

"Eight draw controls — that's a killer," Syracuse coach Gary Gait said.

Cummings also finished with three goals and an assist.

Treanor, showcasing her shifty moves behind the cage, had two highlight-reel goals in the first half, but was limited by Maryland defender Megan Douty — also a Tewaaraton Award finalist — for the rest of the game.

"They're both so good. But their traits are different. Taylor controls the middle of the field, plays both ends. And Kayla is such a good attacker that she can finish and score on anyone. It's scary that they're both sophomores," Terps coach Cathy Reese said. "I'm glad Taylor's on my team. Moving forward, it's great for the sport. Both of those girls are going to draw so much attention the next couple of years."

Maryland raced to a 5-0 lead in the first five minutes, converting each of its first five shots on possessions won by Cummings. The run included two goals by Kristen Lamon, the reserve attacker who came into the game with just 10 goals on the season but finished with a hat trick Sunday.

"She had the game of her career," Reese said. "No better time to have it than the national championship game."

Syracuse answered with four straight goals, including two by Treanor and one by Alyssa Murray, the fourth Tewaaraton Award finalist playing in Sunday's final.

"We had to have the ball," Murray said of the Orange response. "That was the main thing."

After Murray's unassisted goal made it 5-4 at the 9:48 mark of the first half, Cummings won the ensuing draw to herself, split the Syracuse defense and scored eight seconds later. Glaros and then Cummings again scored to give the Terps an 8-4 lead.

The Orange, which never led, twice pulled within two goals, the last time coming when Murray scored with 27:42 remaining in the game to make it 9-7.

But Cummings provided the answer again, winning the next draw, luring a double team and assisting the first of three straight goals by Brooke Griffin. Maryland's lead ballooned to seven goals as Syracuse went scoreless for nearly 20 minutes before its late comeback.

NCAA.com Highlight Video

"We didn't stop the runs," Gait said. "They got some big ones and stretched the lead."

After the game, both Cummings and Treanor spoke of the respect they have for each other. They played together for the U.S. national team in the fall.

"I think everything of Kayla. She's a phenomenal player. It just so happens that we're pitted against each other all the time," Cummings said. "When we are able to play together on U.S., it's actually really fun, because she's a really fun player to play with, just not against. Just mutual respect. I really like her.

Said Treanor: "I really respect her as a competitor. Yeah, we see each other a lot. But I don't really see a rivalry between us."

All three of Syracuse's losses this season came at the hands of Maryland, including a 12-10 defeat in March and a 13-7 loss in the ACC championship game. The series will continue in 2015 despite the Terps' departure to the new Big Ten conference.

That means more Cummings and Treanor, providing the kind of theater that can only be good for women's lacrosse.

Notes and Quotes

Ten of Syracuse's 12 goals were unassisted... After Maryland won 12 of 16 first-half draws, Syracuse switched from Kailah Kempney to Kirkland Locey in the center circle and won nine of 13 in the second half...  Sunday's attendance of 10,311 surpassed the previous record of 9,782 set during the 2010 NCAA final, also won by Maryland at Towson... Cummings headlined the All-Tournament Team, which also included Treanor, Murray, Douty and Glaros. Other All-Tournament honorees were midfielders Maddy Keeshan (Virginia) and Kelly McPartland (Maryland), attacker Alyssa Leonard (Northwestern), defenders Morgan Stephens (Virginia) and Natalie Glanell (Syracuse) and goalie Bridget Bianco (Northwestern)... Syracuse was making its second NCAA championship game appearance. Maryland was making its 18th. The Terps lost to North Carolina 13-12 in a triple-overtime classic in last year's final. "That fueled their fire all season long. They didn’t want to have that feeling again. We didn’t talk about it, but I know they think about it," Reese said... Maryland won its 12th overall national championship. In addition to the 11 NCAA titles, the Terps won the AIAW crown in 1981, a year before the NCAA adopted the women's lacrosse tournament.


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