COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland's explosive offense returned with a vengeance yesterday as the No. 1 Terrapins ran up an early six-goal lead en route to a 17-6 victory over No. 6 North Carolina for the Atlantic Coast Conference women's lacrosse tournament championship at Ludwig Field.
With the victory, the Terrapins (15-1) avenged an early-season 14-13 triple-overtime loss to the Tar Heels (10-5) and won their third championship in the four-year history of the ACC tournament.
"We were glad to get the opportunity to face Carolina again," Terps senior Christie Jenkins said.
"We knew how we felt last time. We talked about it and we knew we didn't want to feel that way again, so we used that to our advantage."
After being held to their lowest offensive output of the season in Saturday's 8-6 semifinal win over No. 8 Virginia, the Terps scored two goals in the first 34 seconds yesterday and rolled to a 7-1 lead in 12 1/2 minutes.
The Tar Heels managed to cut the Terps' lead to 8-5 with 1: 16 left in the first half and won the next draw. But Kristin Sommar forced a Carolina turnover, and tournament Most Valuable Player Jen Adams converted the possession 14 seconds before the half.
Adams, who finished with six goals and two assists, took a short, high pass from Jenkins and instantly redirected it into a high corner for a 9-5 Terps edge.
The Terps then scored the first four goals of the second half on their way to an 8-1 second-half scoring advantage.
Adams and her teammates had little trouble slipping the Carolina defenders for one-on-one looks at goalie Melissa Coyne, who finished with six saves.
"We let them get inside way too much on man-up plays and we let them get inside just passing the ball inside off a double-team," Tar Heels coach Jenny Slingluff Levy said.
"That is very frustrating but against this team, you've got to take every possession as gold, because if you don't, they're going to capitalize on that."
The first two Maryland goals came off draws. Adams fed Courtney Hobbs, who broke ahead of Carolina's defense for a goal just eight seconds into the game. Jenkins then got loose in front of the goal and scored on a pass from Sommar.
Jenkins and Adams were the most dominant Terps attackers yesterday. Jenkins, the 1999 ACC Player of the Year, scored all three of her goals in the first half, including back-to-back efforts in the early 7-1 run.
The 5-10 midfielder made a spin move at the 12-meter arc to lose Carolina defender Betsy Gaines and score the Terps' fifth goal. She then backhanded their sixth goal off a Sommar feed.
Adams continued to show off the skill that earned her ACC Player of the Year honors this season. In the second half, the sophomore from Australia skimmed a low shot in traffic past Coyne's feet and then, with her back to the goal, whipped her next shot into the high left corner. For her last goal, she beat defender Jennie Voishan out wide and broke across the arc for a low shot.
As well as the Terps' attack played, their defense had a day to match. Neutralizing North Carolina's speed, the five-time defending national champs cut off the Tar Heels' transition and relentlessly pressured their settled attack. Maryland caused 10 of Carolina's 17 turnovers, and goalie Alex Kahoe made 15 saves.
The defense made a strong second-half stand against the Tar Heels, who average 10.5 goals per game. Kahoe made four saves and had an interception in the first 15 minutes, and Tonia Porras took a charge at the other end, helping to shut out the Tar Heels through the first 18: 25 of the half.
ka-10 "They collapsed very well, so we couldn't get any passes in and they doubled well, so it was hard to challenge one-on-one," said Tar Heels junior Amy Havrilla, who scored four goals and had an assist.
Five Terrapins made the All-Tournament Team -- Adams, Jenkins, Sommar, Porras and Kahoe. Carolina's Voishan, Havrilla and Kristin Off also made the team.
North Carolina 5 1 -- 6
Maryland 9 8 -- 17
Goals: NC--Havrilla 4, McInnes, Gaines; M--Adams 6, Jenkins 3, Hobbs 3, Comito 2, Porras, Judd, Kr.Sommar. Assists: NC--Havrilla, Kickham; M--Adams 2, Jenkins 2, Kr.Sommar 2, Comito, Porras, Carney. Saves: NC--Coyne 6; M--Kahoe 15.