Women’s Lacrosse: Final Four Almost Here

2013 NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship - North Carolina v Maryland

After the round of 16 in the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament featured three upsets, “chalk” prevailed in the quarterfinal round. After 22 tournament games, we are down to the top four seeds in the tournament.

1. Maryland

2. North Carolina

3. Duke

4. Syracuse

It’s an ACC theme with three current members of the conference against long-time ACC member Maryland program in its first season in the Big Ten.

Last weekend’s biggest blowout came in the final game as Maryland cruised past Northwestern Sunday, 17-5. A close 6-4 Terrapins’ halftime lead broke open with an 11-1 second half. Maryland scored more second-half goals than the Wildcats had shots on goal for the entire game (10). Kristen Lamon led the offense with six points (four goals, two assists) off the bench while five others tallied three points or more.

Princeton gave the Blue Devils a run for their money, but Duke scored the final three first-half goals to take a 3-1 lead on the way to a 7-3 victory. In the process, Duke advanced to its first National Semifinal since 2011. A balanced attack saw six players account for the team’s seven goals while Kelsey Duryea made five saves, allowing just three goals between the pipes.

Duke will face North Carolina in Friday’s first National Semifinal at PPL Park as the Tar Heels came back from a 7-4 halftime deficit against Penn State last weekend. The Nittany Lions impressed in the first half, but the Tar Heels held a 7-1 edge in the final 30 minutes to advance to the Final Four once again. Sydney Holman led the offense with four goals and two assists while the defense allowed just three shots on goal in the second half (two of which were saved).

Meanwhile, Syracuse avenged a regular season loss to Loyola by defeating the Greyhounds and ending their 16-game losing streak in arguably the most competitive game of the weekend. The Orange broke a 4-4 halftime tie to lead for much of the second half, but Loyola was within one for most of the remaining minutes until Syracuse pulled away for its largest lead of three (10-7) at the final horn. Halley Majorana led the Orange with five points (three goals, two assists) while Kelsey Richardson was stellar in goal, making 10 saves.

The quarterfinal results sets up an exciting Final Four at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. The North Carolina – Duke rivalry will renew at 5 p.m. before Maryland and Syracuse square off at 7:30 p.m. in a rematch of the 2014 National Championship Game.

Maryland, North Carolina, Duke and Syracuse earned the top four seeds in the tournament and backed it up in the NCAA Tournament, setting up what should be a Championship Weekend to remember.