Maryland hadn't lost a women's lacrosse game since last May. The Terrapins made their eighth straight appearance in the Final Four this weekend, seeking a third-straight D1 women's lacrosse championship.
And when they took a quick 1-0 lead over North Carolina in Sunday's championship match it looked like what everyone expected – yet another title for Maryland (22-1).
But nobody told the third-seeded Tar Heels, who flipped the script and upset the top-seeded Terps 13-7 to end Maryland's undefeated season.
"We were just gritty and tough all year, and today's game was no different," said Carolina Coach Jenny Levy after the game. "All year long we believed, we worked hard, and we found ways to win.
"I think probably one percent believed we'd pull this off today, and that one percent was sitting in our locker room, all year."
— ACC Women's Lacrosse (@ACCWLax) May 29, 2016
Molly Hendrick led UNC (20-2) with three goals, while Carly Reed, Ela Hazar, Sammy Jo Tracy, and Aly Messinger each had two goals. Carolina was the first team to score in double digits against the Terps all year.
Carolina goalkeeper Megan Ward – back in net after being pulled in the middle of a poor semifinal appearance – had a career-high 14 saves to keep in check a Terrapins squad that had scored 51 goals in three previous games during the tournament.
— UNC Women's Lacrosse (@uncwlax) May 30, 2016
Carolina held Maryland's two-time Tewaaraton Award winner Taylor Cummings to one goal on just six shots.
"I'm so proud of our team and the fight that we put in today," said Cummings. "We played a really good Carolina team, and they're better. I'm sad that's the way my class went out … but I couldn't be more thankful to have been part of it."
After Zoe Stukenberg's game-opening goal for Maryland just a couple minutes into the game, Hazar scored to tie it at one, and Molly Hendrick got one less than two minutes later to give the 'Heels the lead. The had a 6-0 run in the first half, and a 5-0 run in the second, and never let the Terps back in. Maryland hadn't been down by more than three goals all year until Sunday.
It was the third time in four years that Carolina and Maryland played for the championship, with Carolina winning one of the previous two. That year, back in 2013 when Carolina's seniors were freshmen, they beat Maryland 13-12 in triple overtime for the Tar Heels' first NCAA women's lacrosse title.
Maryland had won the championship in each of the last two seasons and was trying to become the first team to win three straight crowns since Northwestern won five from 2005 to 2009.