In 2014, the Maryland Terrapins were the only team to defeat the Syracuse Orange beating them three times including in the for the National Championship. The Orange weren't as impressive in 2015 but The Terps again ended their season with a 10-8 win to move on to the title game for the third consecutive season.
First Half - Strong start; strong finish
The opening draw went to Maryland and the Terps needed just 35 seconds to grab a 1-0 lead. Kelly McPartland's quick dodge down the left side drew a slide. McPartland crossed the ball to Taylor Cummings who dodged from the right and spotted Kristen Lamon circling from behind and Lamon finished.
The Terps went two for two on draws and after Syracuse goalie Kelsey Richardson came up big on a shot by Zoe Stukenberg, Syracuse got off their first shot of the game. Megan Douty forced it wide and Shanna Brady had it backed up giving the Terrapins another possession. This time they finished with 25:28 on a play identical to the first. Maryland extended the lead to 3-0 when Cummings scored on a feed from Griffin prompting a timeout by Syracuse coach Gary Gait.
As they did in the 2014 title game, the Orange responded aided in part by some strong goalkeeping by Richardson and a kind pipe. Halle Majorana got the Orange on the board with a bouncer with 21:38 to play and Kayla Treanor followed with a goal when her defender slipped on the PPL Park turf and Loren Ziegler spotted her in front of the goal.
Maryland won their sixth consecutive draw but for the second straight Terps possession, Richardson denied Griffin. A back check by Maryland's defense created a turnover and fast break opportunity but Richardson came up withher third save of the half denying a great chance by Stukenberg. A strong Terps' ride stymied the Orange's clear attempt and, as nearly the entire Syracuse defense slid to defend Cummings along the right side, the junior calmly passed across the eight meter to a wide open Griffin and the Terps led 4-2 midway through the half.
Richardson continued to be locked in and when she picked up her fifth save of the half it led to a score by the coach's daughter Taylor Gait with Treanor picking the assist. Richardson, who needed no help got an assist from the crossbar on a free position attempt by Griffin and again from the pipe on a point blank shot by Erin Collins. But Maryland, was aggressive to the ground balls and retained possession.
The Orange forced a turnover and Majorana, the former Terp, tied the score. Following Majorana's score, Syracuse won their first draw of the half and Gait put the Orange ahead getting open from when Cummings was screened. Her top shelf shot put Syracuse ahead 5-4 and made the Orange a perfect 5-5 on shots on goal.
Cummings won her fourth draw of the game and Maryland went on the attack. Once again, Richardson stifled a near point blank shot by Erin Collins but Stukenberg picked up the rebound and fired it into the net inside the far post tying the score. McPartland put the Terps up 6-5 a minute and a half later with a solo dodge from the right.
The Orange controlled the draw and appeared ready to settle in for the final possession of the half as the clock ticked under two minutes but McPartland forced and errant pass and it looked as though Maryland would hold for the last possession. However, the turnover bug struck the Terps.
It wasn't the defense that go the ball back, it was Taylor Cummings who intercepted the clearing pass. Cummings got the ball low to Stukenberg who fed the ball back to the junior for her second goal of the period and the 7-5 lead that the Terps took into halftime.
Second half - Just enough to win
The opening draw of the half belonged to Kailah Kempney and Syracuse and the Orange used just 53 seconds to have Traenor find Erica Bodt to narrow Maryland's lead to 7-6. The next draw belonged to Cummings. After 46 seconds, the goal to Erin Collins with a fourth assist of the night from Cummings.
Syracuse won the next draw but the Terps defense ran Bodt into a triple team and a strong stick check by Douty caused the turnover. Maryland failed to capitalize when Cummings pass for Collins was a bit high and the Orange eventually regained possession.
Maryland goalie Alex Fitzpatrick picked up her first save of the game when a closely guarded Majorana tried to force a low bouncer past her. Majorana then picked up yellow card - the 23rd foul of the game against Syracuse that appeared to be a frustration foul. The Terps got three shots, including a highly contested free position during the two minute player advantage but failed to score waiting instead until the teams were back at even strength.
With Hadnagy serving as the facilitator, Lamon picked up the hat trick faking high before putting a bouncer past Richardson. Casey Pepperman picked up the ground ball on the draw and classic roll dodge and jab step fake by Griffin put Maryland up 10-6 at a media stoppage with just over 19 minutes to play.
McPartland picked up the draw and Maryland looked content to run some clock but eventually turned the ball over. The Terps defense forced Syracuse to run over two minutes off the clock but Traenor was eventually able to beat Douty on a one on one dodge from behind.
The teams traded turnovers with Syracuse turning the ball over after controlling the draw and Maryland returning the favor without getting off a shot. However, Fitzpatrick denied the Orange for the second time in the half and again, Maryland began to shorten the game. The Terps ran two and a half minutes off the game clock but Syracuse again forced a turnover and took possession trailing 10-7 with 9:15 to play.
Fitpatrick, who perhaps had to overcome some nerves in the first half, did all she could to keep Maryland on top first saving a shot by Majorana and then stuffin Treanor of a free position. However the senior eventually found her way inside Maryland's defense and dre the Orange within two. Seven minutes and eighteen seconds remained.
Maryland took possession on the draw when Pepperman picked up yet another ball off the ground. The Terps ran an offensive possession that, in 1954, as all deliberate speed running over five minutes off the clock before the Orange fouled Megan Whittle who declined the free position. Bodt picked up a yellow card with 2:11 to play.
The Terps were content to run out the clock denying several late chances to pad the score as Syracuse chased on defense. With 13 seconds to play Richardson, coming far out of goal was tagged with the Orange's third yellow card of the game and second in the last two minutes.
The National Championship will be on the line Sunday and Maryland will face North Carolina who throttled Duke in the first semifinal. The game will be a rematch of the 2013 classic that the Tar Heels won 13-12 in triple overtime. Face off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.