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Women's semifinals

At Talen Enegy Stadium, Chester, Pa.

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NO. 3 SEED NORTH CAROLINA (18-2) VS. PENN STATE (14-6)

When: Friday, 5 p.m.

Video: ESPN3

Outlook: Penn State, in its first trip to the final four since 1999, is the only one of the top four not returning from last season's championship weekend. The unseeded Nittany Lions upset No. 2 seed Florida, 14-13 in overtime, in the second round and topped No. 7 Penn, 8-4, in Saturday's quarterfinal. They're aiming for their first title since 1989. With two championships, they have twice as many titles as North Carolina, but the Tar Heel's won just three years ago. In the semifinals for the fifth time since 2009, the Tar Heels have advance to the final twice in the past three years, defeating Maryland for the 2013 title and falling to the Terps last year. North Carolina is on a program record-matching 15-game win streak. The Tar Heels haven't lost since February when they dropped back-to-back games to Florida and Maryland. They have exceptional depth on offense – seven players scored goals in the 10-6 quarterfinal win over No. 6 Notre Dame – and five players have more than 50 points, led by Molly Hendricks (55 goals, 12 assists) and Marie McCool (44, 12). Penn State boasts a similarly balanced attack with seven players scoring in the win over Penn. Five have 36 or more points, led by Winters Mill graduate Madison Cyr (57, 23) and St. Mary's graduate Steph Lazo (33, 27). Both teams also boast stellar goalies. North Carolina's Megan Ward (St. Mary's) and Caylee Waters combine to allow 8.08 goals per game and stop 48.4 percent of the shots they face. Penn State goalie Emi Smith has come on strong in the playoffs and allows 9.86 goals per game while saving 44.1 percent of the shots she faces. The two teams did not meet this year, but they also crossed paths in last year's NCAA tournament with the Tar Heels winning 11-8 in the quarterfinal. The Tar Heels lead the series, 10-3.No. 1 seed Maryland (21-0) vs. No. 4 Syracuse (19-5)

NO. 1 SEED MARYLAND (21-0) VS. NO. 4 SEED SYRACUSE (19-5)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Talen Energy Stadium, Philadelphia

Video: ESPN3

Outlook: Maryland vs. Syracuse is getting to be a regular final-four match-up. This is the fourth straight year the two have met on championship weekend and two-time defending champion Maryland has won all four. The Terps defeated the Orange, 10-8, in last year's semifinals. When they met again this spring, the Terps won 14-9 to extend their series advantage to 19-1. Syracuse's only win came in the 2012 regular-season meeting. Despite that historical edge, the Terps still face a battle against another of the top offenses in Division I. It will also be the final meeting between arguably the top two players in the game for the past three years -- Maryland's two-time Tewaaraton Award winner Taylor Cummings (McDonogh) and the Orange's Kayla Treanor, who is nominated for third time this season as is Cummings. Their battle will be the one to watch, because everything turns on possession and possession starts with the draw. Treanor leads Division I with 8.96 draw controls per game and her 206 are just ten from the single-season Division I record. Cummings ranks fourth with 6.38 per game. Both players also lead their teams in scoring – Cummings with 55 goals and 19 assists and Treanor with 49 goals and 40 assists. Those two are just the start for the two teams. The Terps boast the top scoring offense in Division I with nine players contributing 20 or more points and three – Cummings, Megan Whittle (McDonogh) and Zoe Stukenberg (Marriotts Ridge) – contributing 60 or more. In the earlier meeting this spring, the Terps scored five straight goals late in the second half to take control. The Orange have eight players with 20 or more goals, so defense likely will be the difference and Maryland, led by Tewaaraton finalist Alice Mercer (Century) and freshman goalie Megan Taylor (Glenelg), allows just 6.71 goals per game while the Orange gives up 9.12.

--Katherine Dunn

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