CHESTER, Pa. (TNS) — North Carolina played keep-away for nearly nine full minutes and it was just barely enough to end Penn State’s season in women’s lacrosse.
With a minute and a half left Friday, the Nittany Lions finally forced a turnover and had a chance to tie the score. But Tar Heels goalie Caylee Waters came up with one final stop to seal the victory.
“That’s what it takes to make a national championship game,” North Carolina coach Jenny Levy said of the save.
The third-seeded Tar Heels (19-2) used four straight second-half goals and a goalie switch to beat the unseeded Nittany Lions, 12-11, in the NCAA Division I semifinals at Talen Energy Stadium.
North Carolina will play the winner of the Syracuse-Maryland game on Sunday at noon in search of its second national title in four years.
North Carolina’s offense clicked early as four players contributed to the Tar Heels’ first three goals in the game’s first four minutes. But Penn State answered with a five-goal run.
Not even 10 minutes into the game with her team trailing, 5-3, Levy pulled starting goalie Megan Ward, who did not record a save. Levy said the goals weren’t Ward’s fault, but she thought a change would benefit her team.
Waters, who started 14 games this season, came in off the bench and had an immediate impact as each of her first two saves resulted in goals on the ensuing possession.
“I’ve always been ready to go in,” Waters said.
And when the game hung in the balance in the final minute, Waters was ready once more.
Penn State finished 14-7.
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