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UNC stuns Terps WLAX in title game

By: Taber Lucchese

Maryland hadn't lost a game all season long before their shocking loss to North Carolina in the National Championship game.

Maryland hadn’t lost a game all season long before their shocking loss to North Carolina in the National Championship game.

http://Maryland WLAX vs. North Carolina (NCAA Championship) Game Notes

The Queens of College Park have been dethroned.

North Carolina handed the reigning two-time national titleholders’ their first loss of the 2016 season in a 13-7 battle.

Taylor Cummings watched as her illustrious career finished in a way she never imagined it would. The Tewaaraton Award Nominee has only suffered four losses in her entire collegiate career at the University of Maryland and had no intention of ending her career at anything less than perfection.

“I’m sad that’s the way my class went out and that’s my last game, but I couldn’t be more thankful,” Cummings said while choking down tears.

Cummings attempted a memorable final shot of her collegiate career, but instead handed UNC senior goalkeeper Megan Ward her final collegiate block, tallying her career-high 14th save.

“Taylor has had a tremendous career, and she’s the best player of her time,” Maryland Coach Cathy Reese said. “She’s won two Tewaaraton Awards, named the best player of our sport.

“You want to end your career on a win, that’s where it hurts. To go through as a senior and to have lost four games total in your career is pretty impressive.”

The Tar Heels defense held Cummings to a single goal and even forced Reese to replace her on the draw circle. While Cummings was blocked off from acting as an asset, Megan Whittle and Caroline Steele were able to step up with three and two goals, respectively.

“They didn’t play scared today,” Cummings said. “They didn’t play scared any game. We asked a lot of them. They came into a team that’s known for playing in championships and winning then, and they stepped up. As a senior, they did everything I could have asked of them.”

Carolina lead Maryland 6-1 until 8:50 left in the first half, when the Terps went on a three-goal run to end the period at a manageable 6-4. Whittle and Steele both stepped up to pull UMD back into the game, Steele with a sweet behind-the-back and Whittle with consecutive unassisted drives down the alley.

“To go down early isn’t ideal,” Reese said. “Lacrosse is a game of runs. We fought back and almost had one at the end of the half which changes that dynamic even more going into halftime.”

It seemed like every time UNC hit the back of the net, it was a product of a wide-open back-door cutter. Maryland just didn’t have an answer for Aly Messinger, who was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. Messinger notched a game-high of six points with her two goals and four assists.

Even when they sent the double-team on Messinger, she consistently found the open Tar Heel, helping Molly Hendrick score a hat trick along with two goals a piece from Carly Reed, Ela Hazar, and Sammy Jo Tracy.

“We sat here in 2013 and had just lost the national championship game as well,” Reese said. “The younger ones felt it. Everyone else on our team hasn’t lost a national championship, and that’s kind of crazy to say.

“It’s a feeling that you’ll remember. It stings right now, but this has been a great team. They’ll rebound and, hopefully, this will fuel their fire for next year to just get after it and get back and do our best again and return to the Final Four next year.”

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Taber Lucchese

Staff Writer
A washed up high school athlete studying in the heartland of college lacrosse and living vicariously through her D1 friends. Growing up in a lacrosse-obsessed family in New York's hotbed, Taber received her first stick as a toddler, an all-pink plastic beauty with the Powerpuff Girls printed on the shaft. Soon after, she was criticized for her lack of a pocket by her male teammates, who all no doubt play college lacrosse today. After over a decade of shooting space and tight pockets, Taber picked up field hockey in high school to finally prove that she could be better at a sport than her D1-committed younger sister. Shockingly she was wrong, and now has accepted the fact that club sports are her destiny. Taber is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science with concentrations in Journalism and Italian Studies. Don't worry, she's not sure what she's doing either, but she's confident that she knows more about sports than you do.

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