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Women ousted early at ACCs

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-Trailing 8-6 against No. 1 Maryland with a minute left to play in the semifinals of the women's lacrosse ACC Tournament Friday night, Cavalier junior attacker Mills Hook took a pass from teammate Jamie Haas and backed her way within 20 feet of the Maryland goal.

As Hook tried to spin past a Terrapin defender for an open shot, she slipped on the slick and soggy grass of Ludwig Field and crashed to the ground, taking No. 8 Virginia's hopes for a comeback with her. The Maryland defenders scooped up the ball and cleared it away from danger, holding the Cavs at bay for their 12th straight victory against them.

ACC Tournament
Semifinals: Maryland 8 - Virginia 6

This three-goal outburst came against a Maryland defense that had held the Cavs (10-5) to two goals in the first half, helping the Terrapins (14-1) to a 5-2 lead at the break. The Terp defense used its speed to collapse quickly and surround the Cavaliers in the offensive zone, leaving Virginia attackers with very little room to create.

"I think [Maryland] expected us to lay off a little bit in the second-half and play a little more on our heels," defender Ashley Widger said. "But instead we pushed right back at them."

A quick goal by Maryland's Allison Comito put the Terps back up by two with two minutes left in the game. Comito, who finished the game with three goals and one assist, picked up the offensive slack for Maryland when the Virginia defense contained ACC Player of the Year Jen Adams.

Adams averaged more than six points per game during the regular season but was held to just two goals and one assist by the Cavalier defenders. In fact, Maryland's eight-goal output was its lowest total this year - less than half of its average of 17.71 goals per game. Yesterday, though, the Terrapins regained their offensive footing, thumping No. 6 North Carolina 17-6 in the tournament final.

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    Part of the Cavaliers' defensive strategy was a good offense. The Cav attackers and midfielders worked the ball around, waiting for holes to develop while keeping the ball away from Maryland's run-and-gun offense.

    "I felt like we had the ball an awful lot of that game, which was really important in being successful," Virginia coach Julie Myers said. "The more we have the ball, the less Maryland has it, the fewer goals they can score."

    Despite the loss, the Cavaliers said their strong showing indicated that the Terps are not invincible and can be beaten this year, possibly in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

    "As heartbreaking as [the loss] is, everyone is taking this in the most positive way," Widger said. "We know it's not impossible [to beat them]. We outscored them in the second half, which is a huge, huge step"