May 21, 2014

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Glory Days: Comito Keeps Maryland's 2001 Perfection Alive

As told to Clare Lochary | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter


Maryland won its seventh straight title under Hall of Fame coach Cindy Timchal in dramatic fashion. (Kevin P. Tucker)

Lacrosse Magazine gathered stories of NCAA tournament lore, straight from the mouths of champions, as part of our May 2014 edition. Extended versions appear here. Don’t get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 415,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

2001
Maryland 14, Georgetown 13 (OT)
Homewood Field, Baltimore

Georgetown pushed Maryland to the brink, erasing an 8-1 deficit and forcing overtime, where Terps goalie Alexis Venechanos came up with a huge free-position save on Sheehan Stanwick.

Maryland's Allison Comito scored with 8 seconds left to win the game. The Terps finished 23-0 behind NCAA all-time leading scorer and inaugural Tewaaraton Award winner Jen Adams, who had a goal and four assists.

It was Maryland's seventh straight national title under Hall of Fame coach Cindy Timchal, but the program's last championship until 2010.

Jen Adams

With an NCAA championship on the line, I remember clearly going into that game so excited. We went in hoping and expecting to play a brand of lacrosse that would be unmatched.

I had a pretty solid defensive matchup that game — a lot of heat, lots of doubles whenever I touched the ball. They really eliminated a lot of my ability to be an offensive threat.

But the awesome thing about Maryland was you had to stop all seven of us. I remember laughing to myself thinking, "This isn't working. Why are you playing so tight on me?"

We had the [8-1] lead. And I remember how quickly it slipped away. It was like, "Wow, we didn't expect to have such a gap on them. This is Maryland lacrosse at its finest." And all of a sudden, it was gone. Goal by goal by goal by goal. Oh, now we're close. Now we're tied. Now we're in OT. It's my senior year, and we're going into overtime.

They had the ball on an 8-meter [shot] and I said to Ali Comito, "I can't watch." And I turned my back on it. But I remember seeing her face light up, and she just started running. I figured the save had been made, but I actually never personally witnessed that save being made. The look on Ali Comito's face will forever be ingrained on my mind. It's not the [game-winning] goal that she ended up scoring. In my head, I see her face at that save, that look of not just amazement and awe, but that look of, "We're about to win this game. We have a chance and we're going to win that game."

When we had that possession, we were going to win that game. Then I remember Alison sticking it in the back of the net and everyone was celebrating, and she was having an asthma attack at the bottom of the pile. To win a championship is one thing, but to win it when it's so close to it being taken away from you is another. In a season when we had six one-goal games including that championship, I can't believe we squeaked away with another one."


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