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NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament 2017: Maryland beats Boston College for National Championship

The Terps complete a 23-0 season with their 14th national title.

NCAA Lacrosse: Women's Championships Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Maryland women’s lacrosse lost to North Carolina with an undefeated record on the line. This year, the Terps redeemed themselves with a 16-13 victory over Boston College. This is the first undefeated season in women’s college lacrosse since Northwestern in 2009, and Maryland’s first since 2001.

Just like she did in the Big Ten championship game, Caroline Steele led the Terps on offense. She earned a game-high six goals on eight shots, by far the best shot percentage on the team. Taylor Hensh added a hat trick, while Megan Whittle, Kali Hartshorn and Jen Giles each scored twice. Caroline Wannen added a goal as well.

Maryland’s defense struggled to contain Boston College’s Kenzie Kent. The junior, who didn’t play in the first matchup because she was still with the Eagles’ hockey team, earned a point on 10 of Boston College’s 13 goals. However, the Terps held Sam Apuzzo and Kate Weeks, who both scored over 70 goals this year, to five combined scores.

Megan Taylor had an uneven day in the cage. She surrendered 13 goals on 25 shots, allowing some easy goals while making some big saves. After struggling in the first half, she slowly regained form as the game went on.

For Boston College, it was a tale of two goalkeepers. First-half goalkeeper Zoe Ochoa played well, while second-half goalie Lauren Daly struggled. Daly allowed a goal on all five shots she faced, which was the difference in the game. She played five minutes before Ochoa, who allowed 11 goals on 19 shots, came back in.

The first half was a mixed bag for the Terps. On one hand, Steele led the scoring with a hat trick through the first 15 minutes, while Hartshorn and Hensh also scored. However, after being up 5-2, Maryland went scoreless to end the half, allowing Boston College to go on a 3-0 run. The Terps generated 21 shots, but failed to capitalize on those opportunities.

In the second half, Maryland came out firing. With a new goalkeeper in net for Boston College, the Terps scored on each of their first five shots to go on a 5-0 run in the first five minutes of the half. After Boston College brought Ochoa back in, the Eagles got back into the game with a 3-0 run of their own, but the lead was too big to overcome.

Maryland and Boston College were close to even in the majority of statistical categories. The two teams tied the draw control battle at 15, and Maryland only allowed four fewer turnovers. Additionally, Boston College out-fouled Maryland 35-28, a lot closer than that stat normally is for the Terps.

It wasn’t easy, but Maryland completed the undefeated season and captured its third national title in four years.

Three Things to Know

  1. Boston College’s goalkeeper platoon was the difference in the game. Zoe Ochoa had saved six of the 11 shots she faced in the first half. In the second half, Lauren Daly allowed five goals on five shots after entering a tie game. Maybe the Terps would have figured it out anyway, but the goalkeeper change allowed Maryland to regroup and find its offense. When Boston College went back to Ochoa, there was a clear difference in play on both sides. Daly’s five goals allowed were huge.
  2. Maryland’s balance was key, just like it was all year. Megan Whittle went pointless in the first half, and Zoe Stukenberg and Caroline Wannen were scoreless. But the Terps’ offensive balance allowed them to open the field, giving those three more room in the second half. Between Steele, Giles, Hensh and the rest, this balance caused everyone gave Maryland an advantage all season, down to the final game.
  3. Cathy Reese has accomplished just about everything. Reese’s team finally reached the undefeated season milestone after failing to do so in 2013 and 2016. This is Reese’s fourth national championship, and third in four seasons, but her first undefeated team. She’s done it all for Maryland, and there should be more to come.