The Mary­land women rally from a late deficit to re­turn to na­tional semi­fi­nals.

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY RO­MAN STUBBS ro­man.stubbs@wash­


As the Mary­land women’s lacrosse team ner­vously hud­dled dur­ing a time­out in the mid­dle of the sec­ond half of Satur­day’s NCAA tour­na­ment quar­ter­fi­nal against vis­it­ing Stony Brook, fac­ing its largest deficit of the sea­son and look­ing primed for a mas­sive up­set, Coach Cathy Reese pulled on her avi­a­tor sun­glasses and scanned her group. She didn’t say a word. Then she pointed at her two se­nior cap­tains, mid­fielder Zoe Stuken­berg and de­fender Na­dine Had­nagy.

“This is you,” she said, be­fore calmly walk­ing away.

Reese didn’t know af­ter the game what was said in that hud­dle, but her team’s ac­tion spoke much louder than words. Reese watched her Ter­rap­ins storm out of that time­out, rally from four goals down and claim a dra­matic 13-12 vic­tory, clinch­ing their ninth con­sec­u­tive trip to the Fi­nal Four.

The top-seeded Ter­rap­ins (21-0) will meet the win­ner of Sun­day’s game be­tween No. 5 seed Prince­ton and No. 4 seed Penn State in a na­tional semi­fi­nal next week­end in Foxbor­ough, Mass. But it was pre­ma­ture for Reese to start think­ing about that trip af­ter Satur­day’s close call against the up­start Sea­wolves (20-2).

Mary­land scored six of the game’s fi­nal seven goals capped by ju­nior at­tack Tay­lor Hensh’s game-win­ner with 2:12 re­main­ing, which marked the first time the Ter­rap­ins had led all af­ter­noon. Hensh fin­ished with three goals, as did Stuken­berg, who watched Reese get emo­tional af­ter Mary­land sur­vived to win on its home field for the 65th con­sec­u­tive game.

“Na­dine and I were just try­ing to keep our heads up and lead by ex­am­ple,” said Stuken­berg, who will fin­ish her col­lege ca­reer hav­ing never lost a home game. “I think ev­ery­one on this team is so tal­ented, and so con­fi­dent and so pas­sion­ate about this goal that we have.”

At­tain­ing that goal — to bring a 13th na­tional cham­pi­onship to Col­lege Park — nearly im­ploded Satur­day. The Ter­rap­ins were out­played in nearly ev­ery facet against the eighth-seeded Sea­wolves, who en­tered the af­ter­noon on a 15-game win­ning streak and as the na­tional leader in seven sta­tis­ti­cal cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing scor­ing de­fense. They clogged lanes and crowded Mary­land’s pro­lific of­fense at ev­ery turn, and on the other end, they pep­pered Mary­land goal­keeper Megan Tay­lor with 12 goals on 26 shots.

That in­cluded three goals from ju­nior at­tack Kylie Ohlmiller, a Te­waara­ton Award fi­nal­ist who also had four as­sists. Her fi­nal as­sist went to her younger sis­ter, fresh­man at­tack Taryn Ohlmiller, who fin­ished to make it 11-7 with 14:57 re­main­ing. It was the largest deficit for Mary­land since last sea­son’s na­tional cham­pi­onship loss to North Carolina.

Reese wanted to “rechan­nel and fun­nel” her team’s en­ergy through a time­out af­ter that point, but she de­cided that a fiery speech wouldn’t work. She calmly stalked the side­line and watched as her lead­ers took over.

It didn’t hurt that Mary­land won seven of the fi­nal nine draw con­trols — it held a 19-7 ad­van­tage over­all — or that Stony Brook was called for 58 fouls to the Ter­rap­ins’ 15. Mary­land also re­ceived a string of cru­cial of­fen­sive plays from Hensh and sopho­more mid­fielder Jen Giles. In a 90-sec­ond span af­ter Stony Brook had taken a four-goal lead, Hensh scored twice off Giles as­sists. Giles also scored two unas­sisted goals in the fi­nal 14:16, the sec­ond of which pulled Mary­land to within 12-11 with 8:56 left.

“Just the way we were at­tack­ing . . . I was cut­ting harder, prob­a­bly harder than I was the first half,” Hensh said. “I just fin­ished to­day.”

While Mary­land’s de­fense fi­nally stiff­ened in the fi­nal 10 min­utes, Hensh set up the game-ty­ing goal for Caro­line Steele with 3:18 re­main­ing. Af­ter Mary­land won the en­su­ing draw, Stuken­berg pa­tiently waited for Hensh to cut into the mid­dle of Stony Brook’s tir­ing de­fense. Stony Brook would not get an­other look to tie af­ter Mary­land won an­other draw con­trol, fit­tingly earn­ing an­other Fi­nal Four berth by run­ning down the clock on its home field.

“I think that’s what makes me so emo­tional about it. We haven’t been in this sit­u­a­tion much,” Reese said. “For this group to ac­tu­ally play one play at a time, one goal at time, it’s easy to say. It’s one thing to say it, it’s an­other thing to do it.”

Navy makes his­tory

Fresh­man Kelly Larkin (Bishop Ire­ton) had four goals and two as­sists to lead un­seeded Navy to a stun­ning 16-14 win over No. 2 seed and de­fend­ing na­tional cham­pion North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Mid­ship­men se­cured their first Fi­nal Four berth.

Jenna Collins (River Hill) added three goals and two as­sists for Navy (18-4), which also got three goals from Meg O’Don­nell. O’Don­nell’s goal with 6:10 left put the Mid­ship­men ahead for good.

North Carolina (17-3) fell to 21-3 all time at home in NCAA tour­na­ment play.

Navy will face Bos­ton Col­lege in a na­tional semi­fi­nal Fri­day night in Foxbor­ough, Mass.

BOS­TON COL­LEGE 20, USC 14: Ken­zie Kent had a ca­reer-best six goals and two as­sists to lead the un­seeded Ea­gles (16-6) past the un­seeded Tro­jans (18-4) in New­ton, Mass., to ad­vance to their first Fi­nal Four.

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