It wasn’t for the national championship this time, but the Maryland and Northwestern women’s lacrosse teams staged another classic NCAA tournament showdown Friday night at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium in Stony Brook, N.Y.
The two traded national titles the last two years, but this time, defending champion Northwestern earned only a trip to the title game by slipping past the Terrapins, 9-7, in the semifinal.
Taylor Thornton, one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award, scored the eventual game-winner to give No. 2 Northwestern an 8-6 lead with 16 minutes 19 seconds to go and added an insurance goal with 1:26 left.
Shannon Smith, the 2011 Tewaaraton winner, who had four goals in last year’s 8-7 title-game win over the Terrapins, didn’t score a goal but dished out four assists. Wildcats goalie Brianne LoManto made point-blank stops against Terps attackers Kristy Black and Katie Schwarzmann in the final 12 minutes.
The No. 3 Terrapins (19-4) got off to a quick start but struggled with possession during a key stretch of the second half when the Wildcats scored four straight times after winning the draws.
Northwestern (20-2) will meet No. 4 Syracuse for the national championship Sunday at 8 p.m. at LaValle Stadium.
The Wildcats, who resurrected their program in 2002 after nine years of club status, will be aiming for their seventh title in eight years against a Syracuse team they edged 11-9 in overtime early in the season.
The two most successful team in NCAA women’s lacrosse history have met three straight times on Memorial Day weekend with the Terps winning the 2010 title and the Wildcats taking the title back last season. Between them, they have won 15 of the last 20 Division I titles.
The teams were tied at every point Friday until Maryland took a 6-4 lead on Schwarzmann’s free-position goal.
— Baltimore Sun
●SYRACUSE 14, FLORIDA 13: Sarah Holden scored her fourth goal with 2 minutes 2 seconds remaining in double overtime and the fourth-seeded Orange upset the top-seeded Gators in Stony Brook, N.Y., to advance to their first national title game.
Holden netted the winner by making a move from up top and buried a bounce shot by Florida goaltender Misty Meagher.
The goal completed the second-largest comeback in NCAA Division I tournament history. In the 2007 semifinals, Duke blew a nine-goal lead against Virginia, which scored the final 10.
Michelle Tumolo and Alyssa Murray added three goals apiece for the Orange (19-3), who overcame a pair of seven-goal deficits.
The win gave Syracuse its first victory against a top-ranked team in 16 tries.
“We just didn’t give up,” Syracuse Coach Gary Gait said. “We fought to the very end, and did whatever it took to get the job done. Sometimes, it takes a lucky bounce here or there, but we just kept getting them.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.