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Maryland women’s lacrosse outlasts North Carolina in 2OT, 13-12

Caroline Steele delivered the sudden-death winner after a back-and-forth contest.

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

Maryland women’s lacrosse was able to sneak past No. 2 North Carolina on Saturday, winning 13-12 in double overtime as one of the biggest rivalries in college lacrosse delivered once again.

The No. 3 Terrapins had their way with North Carolina early in the first half, but were stuck playing defense and fighting to stay alive for the majority of this match. After seeing a 9-4 halftime lead turn into a 12-11 deficit in the second half, Maryland fought back to force overtime. In the second sudden-death period, Caroline Steele found the back of the net to give Maryland its 79th straight home win.

Jen Giles and Kali Hartshorn both finished with hat tricks for Maryland, while Jamie Ortega and Gianna Bowe had hat tricks for North Carolina. Megan Taylor finished with 14 saves on 26 UNC shots on goal, while Taylor Moreno saved 11 of 24 for the Tar Heels.

North Carolina held a 35-33 lead in shots and a 26-22 lead in shots on target. The Tar Heels also dominated from the draw circle, 21-7, keeping the Maryland defense on its heels for the majority of this match. But when the Terps won the draw to start the second overtime, they quickly turned it into the winning goal.

Maryland opened the scoring with a three-goal run, which was then answered by North Carolina with three goals of its own. As Maryland head coach Cathy Reese explained this week, the draw control would be a big factor, and five of the first six goals were results of who won the previous draw.

The Terrapins would close the half on a 6-1 run, taking a 9-4 lead into the half. Giles had a first half hat trick, and Taylor had seven saves against the Tar Heels’ 16 shots (11 on goal) in the first half.

In the second half, though, Maryland found itself on its heels early and often. North Carolina put together an 8-2 run thanks to a 10-1 start on the draw control in the second frame. UNC scored the first three goals of the half, and after Maryland answered back with two, the Tar Heels scored five straight. Ally Mastroianni gave UNC its first lead with 12:47 left.

The Terrapins held on, however, as Kali Hartshorn was able to tie the game with under seven minutes remaining. Both teams then shut down each other on defense, leading to overtime.

North Carolina suffered multiple yellow cards in the first overtime, but the Terrapins were unable to capitalize. In the second frame, though, Steele was able to scoop up the ball off the draw control, and weave through the Tar Heel defense before slotting home a low shot for the win.

Three things to know

1. Despite losing the draw control battle, Maryland came out on top. The Tar Heels finished with a 21-7 lead in draw controls, but that didn’t write the script for this match. While Reese continued to emphasize the draw control this week, the Terrapins were able to overcome their lack of wins in the circle due to Megan Taylor and the defense forcing turnovers and saving shots.

“The interesting thing about this was we weren’t beat in the center,” Reese said after the game, “We were getting beat around the circle.” She credited the Tar Heels’ ability to put the ball where they wanted it, and winning the fight around the circle.

2. Jen Giles continues to prove her importance. The Maryland native has scored at least four goals in each of the Terrapins’ first three games this season. Her first-half hat trick against North Carolina, and specifically her ability to take on defenses by herself, just added to the amazing senior season she’s having.

3. Megan Taylor came up huge in net. Her 14 saves are a new season high, and Maryland would not have been in the game without her effort in this one. Perhaps her most massive save came in the final minute of regulation with Maryland down a player, and she also stopped a shot late in the first overtime. “She is hands down one of the best I’ve seen,” Reese said when discussing Taylor’s performance after the game. Having a player like Taylor and the leadership she showed down the stretch is one of the key differences between Maryland and most other programs in the country.