Tar Heels capture NCAA women’s lacrosse title

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
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CHESTER, PA. – The North Carolina Tar Heels earned their second national title in four years, beating the top-ranked and two-time defending-champion Maryland Terrapins 13-7 at Talen Energy Stadium on Sunday.

This year’s Tar Heels squad earned the 2016 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship title in much easier fashion than the battle the 2013 championship squad endured against the Terps back in 2013 when they came up on top in a 13-12 overtime thriller.

Coincidentally enough, both wins came in the Keystone State.

Aly Messinger was selected the game’s Most Outstanding Player tying a career high with six points (2 goals, 4 assists), and along with goalkeeper Megan Ward’s career-high 14 saves capped off the season to finish on a 17-game win streak for the Tar Heels.

Photos: Jeffrey A. Camarati – GoHeels.com

It was the longest winning streak in program history to go along with the team’s record setting 20-win season.

Carly Reed (2 goals, 2 assists), Molly Hendrick (3 goals), Marie McCool (1 goal, 2 assists), Ela Hazar (2 goals, 1 assist), Sammy Jo Tracy (2 goals), Devin Markison (1 goal) rounded out the scoring for UNC.

Megan Whittle (3 goals), Caroline Steele (2 goals), Zoe Stukenberg (1 goal, 2 assists), and Taylor Cummings (1 goal) led Maryland’s offense.

For the second time this season, the Tar Heels were the only team to hold the Terps to less than 10 goals in a game.

“Maryland is a great team, and we had to play our best to beat them,” UNC head coach Jenny Levy said.

Leading 6-1 at the 9;45 mark of the first half, UNC held onto a two-goal advantage by halftime following a 3-0 run by the Terps.

Playing in their fourth consecutive title game, Maryland continued to press the Tar Heels who held onto a 7-6 lead with just under 24 minutes remaining.

The Terps weren’t done yet, but then again, neither was North Carolina.

A 6-1 run ended the game in convincing fashion for the Tar Heels and allowed them to hoist the championship trophy once again.

“We were just gritty and tough all year, and today’s game was no different,” Levy said.

“We’ve been in tight games all year. I think we’ve played nine one-goal games and all year long we’ve believed we’ve worked hard and we found ways to win, which I think is a great thing.”