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Maryland women’s lacrosse taken down by Boston College, 15-13, in Final Four

The Terps’ season ends in the national semifinals.

NCAA Lacrosse: Women's Lacrosse Championship-Maryland vs Boston College Chris Bergmann-USA TODAY Sports

STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Maryland women lacrosse’s title defense has come to an end. An early blown lead and a late deficit proved too much to overcome for the Terrapins, as they fell 15-13 to Boston College, the team they defeated last year in the championship game.

Just as it happened in the Navy game, Maryland found a way to go ahead early. But the offense slowed going forward, allowing Boston College to pull ahead. After tying the score late, the Terrapins fell victim to tired and sloppy play, which allowed the Eagles to finish them off.

Sam Apuzzo was the late hero for Boston College, scoring two late goals to put the nails in Maryland’s coffin. She scored four times on the night, leading her team and tying the game-high. For Maryland, Kali Hartshorn had four goals herself, being complemented by hat trick from Jen Giles and Taylor Hensh. Senior Megan Whittle had just one goal on three shots in her final college game and was silenced in the second half; the Terps’ all-time goals leader finishes her career with 298.

Three scores within a span of 2:08 delivered a hearty first punch to the defending runner-ups. First it was Caroline Steele less than a minute in, then it was Hartshorn, and finally Giles capped off the run 25 seconds thereafter. Boston College’s responses were quickly answered back by Maryland.

Leading 6-2 midway through the first half, though, the Terps’ offense got complacent and the draw circle advantage turned to Boston College. It was reminiscent of the quarterfinal game against Navy, and the next 16 minutes of play only reinforced the parallels. The next five goals all came from the Eagles in just over five minutes, and they suddenly took their first lead with eight minutes remaining in the half. Two of those were scored by Cara Urbank, who would later complete the hat trick.

Giles scored for the second time to stop Boston College’s run at the 7:03 mark, and Whittle followed on an eight-meter shot to retake the lead. Chandler tied the score with just over a minute to go in the half, and the first half would end with the teams evened.

The first 30 minutes were lopsided in nature, filled with long, one-sided runs. But the second half was the polar opposite. Goals were traded back-and-forth most of the way with neither team scoring more than two in a row the entire half.

Urbank kicked off the second-half scoring, ripping a shot past Megan Taylor 31 seconds in. But Giles and Hartshorn went back-to-back to retake the lead for Maryland. Boston College then scored two to take another lead, but that would be evaporated by Hensh’s third of the game to make the score 11-11. That gave the senior consecutive hat tricks for the first time this season.

The Eagles put Maryland to work in the final 20 minutes, and Maryland’s efforts almost seemed futile. Boston College would score to take the lead, and the Terps had to work ferociously to tie things up. They were able to do so twice in a row, but then the fatigue, both mental and physical, began to set.

With the score tied at 13, Boston College turned to its leading scorer to pull away. Sam Apuzzo, a Tewaaraton finalist, delivered two blows that proved to knock Maryland out. They came at the 8:14 and 7:26 marks, giving the Eagles a 15-13 lead.

The defense held strong the rest of the way, stymieing the Terrapins’ offense during the few minutes which they possessed the ball. The panic set in with nearly three minutes to go, when Steele and Giles fired off contested shots that sailed wide. The Eagles grabbed possession with under 90 seconds to go, and they were able to hold the ball much of the rest of the way.

Three things to know

1. Another blown lead. Maryland hoped that its blown first-half lead over Navy was an outlier, but nearly the exact same thing happened on Friday against Boston College. For an offense as great as the Terps’ is, the stagnation that occurs once a large lead is attained is perplexing, to say the least. The defending champs rallied last time, but couldn’t do so Friday night.

2. The defense was exposed. For the second straight game, Megan Taylor faced too many shots over the course of the game. Fortunately for Maryland, she saved 13, but the defenders gave Boston College a ton of looks. On the day, the Eagles took 33 shots, 28 of which were on goal.

3. The season is over. The Terps were heavily favored to defend their national championship for most of the year, but the quarterfinal game against Navy showed their flaws to the world. And Boston College was able to take advantage of those weaknesses, ending Maryland’s season early.