TOWSON, Md. (AP) — One year earlier, coach Cathy Reese and the members of the Maryland women’s lacrosse team sat in stunned silence after losing by one goal in the NCAA title game.
On Sunday night, the Terrapins got redemption.
Maryland captured its 11th national championship, getting five goals from Beth Glaros in a 15-12 victory over Syracuse.
Kristen Lamon, Taylor Cummings and Brooke Griffin had three goals apiece for the top-seeded Terrapins (23-1), whose last championship was won on this same field in 2010.
Last season, though, Maryland fell to North Carolina 13-12 in the finals. From that moment on, the Terrapins dedicated themselves to righting that wrong.
“Last year, we sat up here after a heartbreaker,” Reese said. “It was tough being on that side of it. Everybody felt the pain of that loss and returned this year to play. That fueled their fire all season long. They didn’t want to have that feeling again.”
In this one, Maryland let a five-goal lead dwindle to 9-7 early in the second half before using four-goal burst to pull away.
“We couldn’t stop their runs,” Syracuse coach Gary Gait lamented. “They got some big ones and just stretched the lead.”
Syracuse (21-3) lost in the title game for the second time in three years and must wait until next season to resume pursuit of its first national championship.
The game drew a crowd of 10,311, a record for the NCAA women’s championship game. The combined attendance for the final and semifinals was 18,567, which was also a record.
Alyssa Murray and Katie Webster each had three goals for the Orange, whose three losses this season were all against Maryland. After falling 12-10 in March, the Orange never led in a 13-7 defeat in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
This was the rematch of the rematch, and it looked early to be a championship mismatch.
Maryland won the opening draw, took the lead for good with 43 seconds elapsed and boosted the margin to 5-0 within the opening five minutes.
“That was obviously a tough way to start,” Gait said. “But we kept our composure. We got ourselves back in the game. But if you could do it again, you’d hope to get a different start.”
After Syracuse closed to 9-7 with 27:47 left, the Orange went scoreless for the next 9:54 while Maryland pulled away.
Griffin scored three straight goals and Lamon added her third of the game to make it 13-7. It was 15-8 before Syracuse reeled off four successive goals, but the Orange couldn’t complete the comeback.
Still, Syracuse made a game of it after Maryland appeared poised for a blowout.
Lamon scored twice during the opening five-goal flurry and Kelly McPartland capped the outburst with her 61st of the season.
The Orange rebounded to score the next four goals, two by leading scorer Kayla Treanor, before Cummings ended Maryland’s scoring drought with a breakaway to ignite a 3-0 run that made it 8-4.
Syracuse again fought back, closing to 8-6 before Glaros struck in the final minute before halftime.
The second half was more of the same. The Orange threatened, but Maryland was just too good to let the game get away.
“This season has been all about us,” Reese said. “It’s not worrying about the team we’re playing or focusing our energy on them. It’s focusing on ourselves, and what do we need to do to get better and be the best team we can be. And here we are at the end of the season, and we put all those pieces together and we’re very happy sitting up here tonight talking to you all.”
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)