PHILADELPHIA – The No. 3 UNC women’s lacrosse team took down No. 1 undefeated Maryland, 13-12 Sunday night, with a sudden death goal to claim the NCAA National Championship.
With four total overtimes– three sudden death periods– it was the longest title game in the NCAA history.
Carolina’s Sammy Jo Tracy came up with the game winning score to give the Heels it’s the first national championship.
UNC came out strong, controlling the tempo for the first five minutes. Aly Messinger scored first with in the first minute of play, putting Carolina up 1-0.
In the 26th minute, Brittney Coppa got the step on the defender for the score. Coppa made a drive to the cage for another score at 25:10—marking the biggest deficit of the season for the Terps.
Maryland’s Taylor Cummings finally put the Terps on the board at 24:41, UNC up 3-1.
Messinger moved to the middle and fired a bouncing shot past the Maryland defense for her second goal.
Maryland’s scored off of a free position shot to trim UNC’s lead to 4-2.
On a fast break after a draw, Maryland’s Katie Schwarzmann split the defender and got the score—UNC leading 5-3.
NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Kara Cannizzaro answered, scoring back-to-back goals in the 13th minute to put UNC up 7-4.
Heading into the half, Carolina led 9-6. Cummings was the first to strike in the second half. The Terps kept the momentum, scoring two more times to even the score at 9-9 at 24:00 . Maryland added two more goals, stretching the lead to 11-9.
Coppa ended Maryland’s 5-0 run to lift the Heels out of a 15-minute scoring drought. Cannizzaro then evened the score 11-11 with 12:44 left to play. She notched her fourth goal of the night on a free position shot to give UNC a 12-11 lead.
Maryland’s Alex Aust ended the Terp’s 16-minute drought, tying the score at 12-12 with 3:50 left to go.
Carolina’s goalie Megan Ward came up with three big saves in overtime.
In turn, Maryland goalkeeper Kasey Howard made the save on a free position shot attempt from UNC’s Taylor George.
Cannizzaro got a look at the goal but Howard came up with the save.
After Tracy fired the winning score in the third sudden death overtime, the goal was contested with a stick check but the Heels were given the all-clear to seal the victory.
UNC finished the season 18-3.
You can welcome the team home to Chapel Hill Monday at noon on Finley Field.