You can't ask for much more than four overtime periods of spectacular defense in any game. In this national championship, it was thrilling, gut wrenching, and ultimately heartbreaking for Maryland.
Maryland and North Carolina had already played one thriller this season, a regular season game in College Park that the Terps won 14-13.
Maryland was once again victorious against their conference rival in the ACC championship, a game in which both teams were plagued by turnovers, though Maryland did a better job of taking advantage.
For the Terps, there was a lot on the line. A win would have given them their 11th national title in school history. They also would have finished the season at 23-0, giving the school it’s fifth perfect season and first since 2001. It was also one last chance for senior Tewaaraton finalists Alex Aust and Katie Schwarzmann to earn their second NCAA title.
North Carolina scored the first three goals of the contest and freshman attacker Aly Messinger had a hat trick within the first twelve minutes of play.
Maryland fought back to a 5-4 deficit by dominating the Tar Heels on draw controls, but turnovers allowed North Carolina to take a 9-6 lead into halftime.
It took a few minutes, but Maryland drew first blood in the second half. From there, they went on an offensive tear, scoring five unanswered goals in a period of 7:36. North Carolina answered with three straight goals of their own to take a 12-11 lead with nine minutes remaining.
Alex Aust scored the tying goal with 3:51 left and though Maryland had another late possession, nothing came of it and the fans got some free lacrosse.
The first overtime in lacrosse consists of two 3-minute periods, neither of which is sudden death. That was unimportant, however, as neither team scored and the second overtime began. From then on, it was sudden victory.
Senior goalkeeper Kasey Howard had just one save for Maryland in regulation, but recorded four spectacular saves in overtime. Unfortunately, she was unable to deflect the final shot and freshman midfielder Sammy Jo Tracy became the hero for the Tar Heels, lifting her team to its first national title.