Louisville joins ACC; UVA staying put?

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Louisville joins ACC; UVA staying put?

Another week, another change to the Atlantic Coast Conference dance card. After founding member Maryland recently two-stepped its way to the Big Ten, the ACC once again sashayed over to the Big East for its latest addition, announcing on Wednesday that basketball-heavyweight Louisville would becomes the conference's 14th member. The Cardinals, coached on the hoops side by Rick Pitino, are the seventh program to bail on the once-mighty Big East conference in the last 18 months and the seventh to Big East school to joint the ACC since 2003-04.

Louisville reportedly beat out Connecticut and Cincinnati in the race to fill Maryland's vacated - and still warm - slot. However, don't think for a second the game of conference realignment musical chairs is over. The Big Ten, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 are all reportedly on the hunt for more schools, looking to swell its membership to 16 because this is how things are done these days. Super, gigantic, mega conferences or bust, so the mantra appears.

Various reports have the Big Ten eying other ACC schools including North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Virginia. In his attempt to tamp down any speculation, Virginia's Athletic Director Craig Littlepage issued a statement Tuesday night before the ACC school President's voted on the latest round of expansion.

"During the past week there have been numerous reports and rumors linking the University of Virginia to interest in membership in other athletic conferences,' Littlepage said. "Due to the recent changes that have taken place with conference realignment around the nation, I think it is important for us to put an end to this speculation as it relates to UVa.

"The University of Virginia is a proud member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Neither representatives of the athletics department, nor President Teresa Sullivan, has received invitations to nor sought membership in other conferences. The ACC's commitment to its members and their student-athletes is the finest in the country. We look forward to continuing this relationship far into the future. Our goal is to continue supporting the ACC and its initiatives for long-term success.

"I have expressed this stance to ACC Commissioner John Swofford, and I want to take this opportunity to express that same commitment to our alumni, fans, supporters, student-athletes and coaches. We firmly stand behind the Atlantic Coast Conference."

North Carolina also made similar claims this week of wanting to stick with the ACC. We'll see about that. In the meantime, the ACC is suing Maryland following last week's conference changing announcement. Guess there are $50 million reasons why we knew this was coming. Getting Virginia and any other program thinking about jumping ship attention's, also a factor.

Back to Louisville. Considering the program's national championship hoops history and current Final Four contender status under Pitino, the swap with Maryland is hardly a downgrade (should Pitino return to his vagabond coaching roots and bail in the near future, and Mark Turgeon keep recruiting like his life depends on it, then we might have to revisit the exchange rate).

Obviously that's not the case with the television markets. Losing the Washington-Baltimore region is going to sting for the ACC, but Louisville represented the best of the remaining options (if Jim Calhoun remained in coaching perhaps Connecticut could have made such a claim). As for the football, kind of eh on both sides, though Louisville figures to have a greater chance for success in the ACC then Maryland will in the Big Ten.

Since 2003-04, seven schools have left the Big East for the ACC; Virginia Tech, Miami, Boston College, Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame (football only) and now, Louisville. Considering the final four names on that list remain in the Big East for now, the conference will have its own Big East-ACC challenge on an almost nightly basis. So, there's that.

Speaking of the Big East, the conference this week announced Tulane's addition as a full-time member with East Carolina joining for football only. Good luck with that.

Maryland women's lacrosse beats Boston College in championship

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Maryland women's lacrosse beats Boston College in championship

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After a sporadic first half, top-seeded Maryland did what it normally does.

A 5-5 halftime tie was a 10-5 Maryland lead just 4:26 into the second half, and the Terrapins held on to beat Boston College 16-13 on Sunday in the NCAA women's lacrosse championship game.

"We struggled shooting in the first half," coach Cathy Reese said. "We came out in the second half on fire. Give these guys all the credit. They played hard. They played their hearts out."

Caroline Steele had six goals and an assist, Taylor Hensh scored three times, and the Terps capped an unbeaten season with their 13th NCAA title. Jen Giles, Megan Whittle and Kali Hartshorn each had two goals and an assist for the Terrapins (23-0).

Maryland played in its fifth straight final and won its third title in four years. The only NCAA tournament loss during that span came in last year's championship game, when North Carolina knocked off the two-time defending champ Terrapins 13-7.

"Three for four isn't too shabby. Finishing up your senior season undefeated is pretty awesome," said Zoe Stukenberg, who had three assists in her final game with the Terps.

The heavily favored Terps scored 10 seconds into the game, They racked up those five quick goals in the second half, but Boston College kept it from becoming a runaway.

"We were a little shook up again in the first half," Boston College coach Acacia Walker said. "They're just so smart. They just tuned in and did what they needed to do. Every person did their job and we just sort of plugged away."

Kenzie Kent had five goals and five assists for Boston College, which reached the championship game for the first time. Sam Apuzzo scored four goals for the Eagles, giving her 80 for the season.

Although Maryland never trailed, the Terps were pushed by the Eagles, who battled back from an early 5-2 deficit.

After being shut out for the last 16:11 of the first half, the Terps stormed out of halftime to regain command. Whittle started it with a goal 19 seconds in, then Steele struck for two 1:18 apart to get the Terps comfortably on top again.

"Caroline played great. She was on fire," Stukenberg said. "We needed her. Nobody else was and she stepped up when we needed her. It was unbelievable."

Kent kept Boston College close with three straight goals to cut the margin to 11-9, then assisted on Dempsey Aresenault's goal with 14 minutes left to get the Eagles back within a goal.

"I think it gives negative mojo to your team if you think of how many goals you're down," Kent said. "Instead, we take it play by play and I think that's what got us out of that hole."

Caroline Wannen scored for Maryland with 12:04 left to start the Terps on another scoring surge. Hensh put Maryland up 13-10, then, after Kent's fifth goal of the game, the Terps picked up three more goals by Kali Hartshorn, Steele and Hensh with 4:07 left to all but seal another title for Maryland.

Apuzzo added a pair of late goals for the Eagles.

Hartshorn put Maryland up 1-0 10 seconds in. Hensh made it 2-0 1:42 later when she plucked her rebound out of the air and swept it in behind BC goalie Zoe Ochoa. Apuzzo answered with two goals for BC to set the back-and-forth tone that would last until the final few minutes.

Maryland holds on to beat Denver, advance to national title game

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USA Today Sports Images

Maryland holds on to beat Denver, advance to national title game

The Maryland men’s lacrosse team is returning to the national championship game for a third straight year.

The Terrapins held on to beat Denver, 9-8, in the national semifinals Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Maryland’s Connor Kelly scored the go-ahead goal with 8:41 to go and the Terps defense held tight to preserve the victory.

Kelly scored three goals to pace Maryland on offense. The Terps led 4-1 in the first half and 5-3 at halftime before Denver tied it up at 8-8 with 10 minutes remaining ahead of what proved to be the game winner.

In the final two minutes, both teams had goals waved off because of crease violations – one from Maryland's Colin Heacock with 1:28 remaining and a second from Denver's Connor Donahue with 9.2 seconds left.

Maryland will now play Ohio State in the national championship game at 1 p.m. ET Monday. The Buckeyes beat Towson, 11-10, in the earlier semifinal Saturday.

For the Terps, the game will mark their 14th national title game appearance, though they haven’t won it since 1975. Since then, Maryland has finished as runner-ups nine straight times (1976, 1979, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016), including four times in the past six years.

The Terps fell 10-5 to Denver (2015) and 14-13 in overtime to North Carolina (2016) in the last two national title games.

In addition to the 1975 title, Maryland also won it in 1973. They also finished as runner-ups in 1971 and 1974.

The Maryland women’s lacrosse team will be playing in their own national championship game Sunday, against Boston College. The Terps beat Penn State, 20-10, Friday night, and Boston College rallied to beat Navy, 16-15.

The Maryland women’s team has won 12 national championships, most recently in both 2014 and 2015.