UNC works extra for first NCAA women's lacrosse title

May. 26, 2013 @ 11:45 PM

In the third overtime, with both teams exhausted from the longest NCAA women’s lacrosse championship game ever, a freshman took center stage for North Carolina.

Sammy Jo Tracy’s goal with two minutes, 29 seconds to play in the third overtime at Villanova Stadium delivered the Tar Heels a 13-12 win over Maryland for the first NCAA women’s lacrosse national championship in UNC history.

Tracy took a pass from junior Brittney Coppa and zipped it past Maryland goalkeeper Kasey Howard to make history for the Tar Heels (18-3).

The goal completed a back-and-forth title game where UNC took a 9-6 halftime lead only to see previously unbeaten Maryland (22-1) score five consecutive goals.

The Tar Heels responded with three goals in a row before Maryland’s Alex Aust tied the game at 12-all with a goal with 3:51 left in regulation.

Both teams had chances to win earlier in overtime prior to Tracy’s heroics.

Coppa won the initial draw of overtime and sprinted toward goal. But Howard made the point-blank save.

Maryland's Taylor Cummings hit the post with 38 seconds left in the first overtime.

After the six-minute first overtime, sudden-death rules went into effect.

UNC’s Kara Cannizzaro had a chance on a free-position shot following at Maryland foul. But Howard’s save kept the game tied with 1:56 left in second overtime. Cannizzaro then had a free-position shot with three seconds left but misfired high.

Cannizzaro led UNC with four goals and two assists as the Tar Heels avenged two earlier losses to Maryland this season.

UNC was the aggressor in the first half, scoring the game’s first three goals and taking a 9-6 halftime lead. Maryland had never trailed a halftime this season and the three-goal deficit was the largest the Terrapins had faced this season.

But Maryland dominated play over the first 10 minutes of the second half to score five consecutive goals and lead 11-9. The Terrapins outshot UNC 8-1 over the first eight minutes of the half.

But Coppa changed momentum to keep UNC’s title hopes alive. With 18:23 left in the game, she sliced through the middle Maryland’s defense to score unassisted goal. Her goal, on UNC’s second shot of the half, ended the 5-0 Maryland run.

Less than six minutes later, Cannizzaro used a pinning move from behind the cage to score and tie the game at 11-all with 12:44 to play.

Cannizzaro scored on free-position shot with 9:00 to play to put UNC up 12-11.

Outplayed over the game’s first 50 minutes by Cannizzaro, Schwarzmann made big plays on defense in the final five minutes to allow Maryland to reach overtime.

With UNC up 12-11 and methodically controlling the ball to burn clock, Schwarzmann’s steal behind the Terrapins goal with 4:33 gave Maryland a chance to tie.

Alex Aust took advantage for Maryland, scoring from the left side of the net with 3:51 to play to tie the game at 12.

UNC won the draw and appeared to have a chance to hold for the final shot.

But Schwarzmann’s stick check on Sarah Scott caused a turnover. Schwarzmann picked up the loose ball with 3:30 left

Maryland held for the final shot. Schwarzmann had the ball and approached the net with 15 seconds left. UNC’s defense converged to cause a turnover and the game headed into overtime.