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Maryland, Northwestern highlight NCAA lax semis this weekend

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Rival powerhouses will clash May 23 at 7:30 pm in the semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championship at Johnny Unitas Stadium on Towson University. Top-seeded Maryland will battle fifth-seeded Northwestern. This marks the fourth meeting of the teams since 2010, including a pair of NCAA championships and now a second semifinal.

The Wildcats knocked the Terps out of the hunt in 2012, 9-7. Northwestern took the crown in 2011 with an 8-7 victory. Maryland topped the ’Cats 13-11 to win the 2010 championship. Terp assistant coach Caitlyn McFadden scored two goals, added an assist and shut down All-American attacker Katrina Dowd in the 2010 game.

NU’s Kerri Harrington and junior Jess Carroll are said to have a special connection to recent Wildcat wins over the Terrapins. In 2011, Harrington was assigned to faceguard Tewaaraton Award finalist Sarah Mollison. Harrington held Mollison without a point for the first time in 67 games and allowing the Wildcats win.

A year later, Carroll also made her first career start on championship weekend against the Terps, this time in the semifinal round. Carroll helped NU slow Maryland’s potent midfield attack led by Katie Schwarzmann as Northwestern moved on with a 9-7 win.

Maryland junior defender Megan Douty, – a Tewaaraton finalist – freshman midfielder Zoe Stukenberg, 33 goals and 11 assists, and head coach Cathy Reese earned 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Lacrosse individual postseason honors, as voted on by the league’s eight head coaches and announced by the conference office.

Kelly McPartland leads the Terps in scoring with 88 points. Taylor Cumming – a Tewaaraton finalist – trails second with 82. Abbey Clipp is 19-0 in net allowing 8.14 goals per game.

Christy Turner fueled NU’s charge to the NCAA semifinals with at least one goal scored in each of her last 10 games. Alyssa Leonard earned her first career All-America honor in her senior campaign, receiving second-team laurels from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA). Leonard is NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse’s all-time leader in draw controls (466). In addition to her school-record 160 draw controls this season, she scored a team-high 51 points.

Sixth-seeded Virginia (12-8) sent the defending champions Tar Heels packing with a 10-9 upset victory against third-seeded North Carolina (15-5) in the quarterfinals. With the win, the Cavaliers will take on Syracuse May 23 at 5 pm in Towson. Virginia was assisted by a 6-0 second-half scoring binge.

The Orange (20-2) needed a late rally to get past Boston College in the semifinals 11-9. Katie Webster led the Orange offense with three goals, which all came during Syracuse’s 9-2 scoring run that helped it overcome an early three-goal deficit. Senior Alyssa Murray also had three points (1g, 2a), while Kayla Treanor had two points, giving her 107 this season. She is now the highest scoring sophomore in school history. In addition, her 73 goals tie her for third place on Syracuse’s single-season scoring list.

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