Terps women’s lacrosse tops UNC for fifth straight ACC title

They had every right to celebrate. But after scoring a fifth straight ACC women’s lacrosse championship, sitting on a bus zooming north from Chapel Hill, the Maryland women’s lacrosse team was dead silent. Rather than shout and holler and sing their way home, the Terps kept their eyes trained on the televisions watching, of all things, season two of “Dexter.”

“I’m addicted now,” Coach Cathy Reese said from the bus, laughing.

terpslogoThe Terrapins were due to personalize their return party anyhow. They stewed throughout a dreary, drizzly day, waiting until the 5 p.m. start and wondering whether lightning would delay it even later. So they went through a walk-through, packed up, checked out of the hotel, lunched at Panera and arrived at the field early.

Hours later, Maryland was flooding Fetzer Field after a 12-8 victory over host North Carolina behind a championship game record-tying four assists from Katie Schwarzmann, who earned tournament MVP honors for the second straight season.

Hat tricks from Brooke Griffin, Beth Glaros and Taylor Cummings helped turn a 5-3 squeaker at halftime into a sizable 8-3 lead just five minutes into the second half. After North Carolina chopped the lead to 8-4, another three-goal burst allowed Maryland to stall for the final few minutes.

“You get to that point where we’re holding the ball; everyone had a part in that,” Reese said. “They did a nice job. I don’t know if we’ve ever done that that well in practice. They did a nice job protecting the ball and making smart passes. The clock winds down, and the kids all rush the field, which is great. That moment of excitement, like we did it.”

The Terps have topped the Tar Heels in four straight ACC finals, but Reese insisted history wasn’t even slightly on their minds entering the weekend.

“We don’t ever check anything about what’s happened in the past,” she said. “Even this season. We’re done with the regular season. Get through one to get to the next. In the locker room before the game, we said this is where we want to be. Now that we’re here, what are we going to do about it?”

Reese gave her team until Wednesday to recover from two games in three days at the ACC tournament, “a nice time to rehab, regroup and just rest up.” Practices won’t be long this week, Reese said, mainly because the NCAA tournament doesn’t begin for two weeks. The bracket is announced Sunday.

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