Women's Lacrosse Advances to Final Four with Historic Win
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Navy women's lacrosse team edged defending National Champion and No. 2 seed North Carolina, 16-14, on Saturday afternoon at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C. The win over the Tar Heels (17-3) lifts the Midshipmen (18-4) to their first ever Final Four appearance in school history.
"It was a wonderful day for Navy women's lacrosse," head coach Cindy Timchal said after the game. "I am proud of our team for the effort they put out today. We beat a team with an unbelievable history of excellence in lacrosse. We have been playing good lacrosse so we felt we could say close and make it a good game. I don't think we looked at the scoreboard until the end. For today, we celebrate another win for Navy women's lacrosse and look forward to our next game."
Offensively, Navy saw seven players score goals, including three players record hat tricks. Kelly Larkin (Alexandria, Va.) led the way with six points on four goals and a pair of assists. The six points in the game gave the freshman 102 for the season, making her just the fourth player in school history and first freshman to record 100 or more points in a single year. Jenna Collins (Clarksville, Md.) and Meg O'Donnell (Forest Hill, Md.) joined Larkin with hat tricks on the day. Je. Collins finished the day with three goals and two assists for five points, while O'Donnell netted three goals. Julia Collins (Clarksville, Md.) and Morgan Young (Baltimore, Md.) added two goals apiece, while Kayla Harris (Arnold, Md.) and Molly O'Sullivan (Centreville, Va.) scored one goal each. Young and Blake Smith (Sykesville, Md.) chipped in assists on the day.
Defensively, Ingrid Boyum (Herndon, Va.) broke the school record with her 18th victory of the season. The junior tied a career high with 11 saves in the game. She tallied five stops in the first half and continued the second half with six saves. She made a one-on-one stop with 17:45 remaining on the clock that helped spark the offense in the final half of the game. With momentum, the Mids scored six of the final seven goals of the game.
The defense disrupted the potent Tar Heel offense, leading to 14 turnovers, including eight caused turnovers. Navy won the ground ball battle, 23-15, while North Carolina edged the Mids in draw controls, 18-15.
Navy was the first team to score, netting a pair of unassisted goals in the first six minutes. Ju. Collins put the Mids on the scoreboard with a goal three and a half minutes into the game. Larkin followed with a free-position goal to put the Midshipmen in front 2-0 with 24:37 to play in the first half.
North Carolina responded with back-to-back goals to tie the game at 2-2, but Navy answered to regain a two-goal advantage. Larkin found the back of the net for the second time to put the Midshipmen in front and Young followed with first goal of the game.
The Tar Heels used a free-position goal to trim the lead to 4-3, but the Mids once again responded. Je. Collins scored her first goal to extend the lead to 5-3 with 14:09 to play in the half.
UNC used three consecutive goals to take its first lead of the game at 6-5 with 11:01 in the first stanza.
Harris broke the scoring drought with the equalizer. The freshman split three defenders to break the plane of the goal and knot the score at 6-6. O'Donnell gave the Mids the lead off a pass from Larkin with 6:48 to play. Six minutes later, Young scored a goal while falling down to put Navy up 8-6.
North Carolina scored with four ticks remaining on the clock to cut the Navy advantage to 8-7 at halftime.
The Tar Heels opened the second half with a goal to tie the game at 8-8, but the Mids answered with back-to-back goals. Larkin scored her third goal to regain the lead. The goal gave the plebe 100 points in her rookie season, making her the first freshman to score 100 or more points in a season. O'Donnell gave the Midshipmen double digit goals with her second goal of the game, 10-8.
North Carolina made a run over the next eight minutes, scoring five straight goals. Boyum made a kick save on a one-on-one opportunity for North Carolina that kept the game within reach, 13-10.
Following the stop, Navy scored six of the final seven goals to earn the victory. Larkin took a pass from Je. Collins and sliced through the defense to start the run. The Collins sisters netted back-to-back goals to tie the game. Je. Collins took a pass from Smith, while Ju. Collins notched an unassisted goal.
The Tar Heels scored to take a 14-13 lead, but the Mids answered with three consecutive goals to end the game. Je. Collins converted a free-position opportunity to tie the game at 14-14 with 11:37 to play. O'Donnell scored with 6:10 to play to give the Mids the lead, which they would not relinquish.
With under 30 seconds to play, North Carolina pulled the goalie in an attempt to get the ball back. O'Sullivan made UNC pay with an open-net goal to provide the final margin of victory, 16-14.
Navy continues the season at the Final Four as the Midshipmen travel to Foxborough, Mass. to face Boston College at Gillette Stadium.