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    No. 1 Maryland Tops Northwestern in NCAA Semifinals, 9-6

    May 23, 2014

    Northwestern

    (14-7)

    No. 1 Maryland 9, No. 5 Northwestern 6
    Johnny Unitas Stadium • Towson, Md. • Attendance: 8,256

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    (22-1)

    TOWSON, Md. -- Northwestern's 10th consecutive run to the semifinals of the NCAA Women's Lacrosse championship ended Friday evening with a 9-6 loss to No. 1-ranked Maryland at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Md. The Wildcats held Maryland to its second-lowest goal output of the season but fell victim to a scoring drought of nearly 25 minutes spanning either side of halftime, allowing the Terps to build enough of a lead to keep the Wildcats at bay down the stretch.

    For Northwestern, Kara Mupo's two goals and one assist led a group of five Wildcat goal-scorers, while junior goalkeeper Bridget Bianco came up with eight big saves in the cage.

    The Wildcats finish a wild 2014 campaign with a 14-7 record, splitting the outcomes of 10 one-goal games with five wins and five losses.

    "I'm very proud of the team year. I think that despite some setbacks, I think this team accomplished a lot," said Kelly Amonte Hiller. "It was one of the greatest groups that I've had in terms of culture. They did a lot for this program and I'm very proud of them. Congratulations to Maryland. They played a great game tonight and they really deserved to win."

    Maryland -- which thanks to an impending move to the Big Ten Conference will appear on the Wildcats' 2015 regular-season schedule for the first time since 2007 -- improved to 22-1 and earned a date with No. 2 Syracuse in Sunday's NCAA championship game. Northwestern moved to 4-2 against Maryland during the Kelly Amonte Hiller era.

    Northwestern opened the game with three straight draw control wins, the first two by Spring Sanders. But Maryland notched the opening goal when Tewaaraton finalist Taylor Cummings broke loose from Kerri Harrington's faceguard to receive a pass from Brooke Griffin and score at the 26:31 mark.

    The Wildcats put up a crooked number of their own with just over 10 minutes gone by in the game when Alyssa Leonard drew a double team and fed a cutting Jess Carroll for an easy look in front of the cage. Off the next draw control, senior Christy Turner brought the ball across the restraining line looking to set up the attack, but a Maryland defensive breakdown left her wide open for a drive and score to give Northwestern a 2-1 lead.

    Maryland would score the last four goals of the first half, however, including a man-up goal by Kelly McPartland that was followed 1:04 later by a Zoe Stukenberg 8-meter goal with 33 seconds left in the opening stanza, providing the top-ranked Terps a 5-2 advantage entering the locker rooms.

    Bianco started the second half off right for Northwestern with her fifth save of the night, and Leonard put an end to the Northwestern scoring drought with an 8-meter goal from straight on, her 41st tally of the year.

    But Maryland's Beth Glaros provided the answer with an unassisted goal just over a minute later to restore a 6-3 lead, and that would remain the count over the next seven minutes before a pair of Terrapin goals in a span of 14 seconds extended the NU deficit to five with 16:05 to play.

    With the confidence of having overcome a pair of three-goal deficits at No. 4 Florida last week, Northwestern did its best to mount a comeback against the Terps and pulled within four on an underhand shot from distance by Kara Mupo with 9:21 to go.

    Following a third and final goal by Maryland's Kelly McPartland, Mupo set up senior Kelly Rich for a score with 6:41 to play before rounding out the scoring herself with a dodge to goal with 4:13 left, but that was as close as the Wildcats would come on this night.

    Northwestern Postgame Notes
    • Amonte Hiller graduates a 2014 class of nine seniors who led the Wildcats to four consecutive appearances in the NCAA semifinals and finished their career with an overall record of 75-14.

    • Senior Alyssa Leonard completed her NU career with an NCAA record 469 draw controls, more than 100 more than the previous Division I standard. Leonard totaled 163 this season, tied for the third-best single-season total in NCAA history. Leonard also completed the 2014 season as Northwestern's leader in goals (41) and points (53).

    • Amonte Hiller now owns a career coaching record of 36-4 in NCAA Tournament play. Should Maryland go on to defeat Syracuse on Sunday, it would mark the 11th straight year in which Northwestern either won the national championship or was eliminated by that year's champion.

    • Junior Kara Mupo's two goals against Maryland gave her 40 for the season and leave her just two shy of 100 for her career. Mupo will return in 2015 as Northwestern's active career leader in goals (98) and points (118).

    • Senior Christy Turner scored one goal against the Terps, ending her career with at least one goal in her final 11 games played. The two-year team captain played in 87 career games and made 66 career starts.

    • Friday marked just the second time in 21 games this season that Northwestern's opponent recorded more draw controls than the Wildcats (10-7). The only other time that occurred in 2014 was in a 15-9 win over Vanderbilt on April 10 (14-12).

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