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Terps women on brink of 7th NCAA title in row


Going into last night's NCAA Division I women's lacrosse semifinal, No. 1 Maryland did not want to see a repeat of the Princeton slowdown game that nearly beat the Terrapins a month ago.

The Terps did all they had to do to keep that from happening - pressure on defense, control of most of the draws and winning of more ground balls.

As a result, they trailed for just 18 seconds and rolled up a 14-7 victory at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Field to earn their eighth straight berth in the NCAA championship game.

Tomorrow at 3:10 p.m. against Georgetown - which beat Loyola, 10-9, last night on a goal in the last seven seconds - the Terps (22-0) will go after a seventh straight national title and the 10th in the program's history.

Last night, with their top attack players struggling to find the net early, the Terps picked it up on defense and did not let the No. 5 Tigers maintain possession for long stretches as they had in the earlier meeting.

"We wanted to pressure them a little more to get them into our tempo," said Terps defensive standout Courtney Martinez. "We wanted to set the tone of the game."

Princeton (14-6) didn't want to slow things down as much as last time, and with the Terps controlling the draws and winning the loose balls, the Tigers didn't get as many offensive opportunities as they would have liked.

"They just simply beat us out there, to the ground balls, to the draw controls. It was hard for us to even have the ball much," said Princeton coach Chris Sailer, who was forced to play without second-leading scorer Kim Smith, sidelined with mononucleosis.

Quinn Carney continued her domination on the draw, helping the Terps win 16 of 22 for the game. With Carney taking most of the draws, the Terps have outdrawn the opposition, 318-159, over the season.

Last night, the 5-9 senior All-American worked her magic again, often snatching the ball right out of the air herself.

"Sometimes, it seems like she has a magnet in her stick," said Terps two-time National Player of the Year Jen Adams.

Maryland didn't squander its early opportunities, even though Princeton kept the Terps' big guns, Adams and Carney, contained most of the half.

Even that couldn't stop the Terps. Freshman Kelly Coppedge and junior Courtney Hobbs combined for the first five Maryland goals. Hobbs' goal on a feed from Carney with 3:55 left before the half gave the Terps a 4-3 lead. They led the rest of the game.

The big explosion came next, after Julie Shaner's free-position goal brought the Tigers within 4-3 with 1:46 left in the half.

Adams fed Coppedge, who spun and sent a shot into a high corner, and then Hobbs fed Adams off a free position - both in the final 17 seconds. With that, Maryland took a 6-3 lead into the break.

"Kelly really finished on crucial goals when we were struggling," said Terps coach Cindy Timchal. "I have to credit her for having the courage and her teammates for finding her open. It was great. It really pumped up our whole team."

After the break, the Terps' lead just kept building as Hobbs broke in front of the Tigers' defense and raced to the goal off a long pass from Coppedge in the first 23 seconds. Carney then scored three straight to give the Terps their biggest lead of the half, 10-3, with 19:10 to go.

With last night's victory, Timchal tied the record for coaching victories in collegiate women's lacrosse with 268.

With three goals and three assists, Adams continued to pull away from the pack with 64 career points in the NCAA tournament. Carney is second with 45 points after contributing three goals and an assist last night.

Princeton 3 4 - 7 Maryland 6 8 - 14

Goals: P-Simone 3, Miller 2, Kenworthy 2; M-Hobbs 4, Carney 3, Adams 3, Coppedge 3, Judd. Assists: P-Shaner, Carbone; M-Adams 3, Hobbs 2, Carney, Comito, McNamara. Saves: P-McInnes 2; M- Venechanos 2, Solomon 7.

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