As the final minute ran off the clock in each NCAA women's lacrosse semifinal Friday night at Talen Energy Stadium, North Carolina and Maryland were in opposite situations in their respective games.
The Tar Heels were bracing for Penn State's final push while clinging to a one-goal lead. The Terrapins, on the other hand, were able to stroll back to their positions after scoring their 19th goal, the last nail in a Syracuse coffin that had been slammed shut much earlier.
But either way, North Carolina (19-2) and Maryland (22-0) were able to do what was needed in order to reach the national championship game, noon Sunday at Talen Energy Stadium.
The matchup marks the third time in the last four years these teams will meet for the title. In 2013, the Tar Heels got the victory, 13-12, in overtime. Last year, the Terrapins won, also by one goal, 9-8.
In one-goal games this season, North Carolina is 7-2 and Maryland is 2-0.
"It's always a battle. It's one of the greatest rivalries not only in women's lacrosse but in college sports," Maryland midfielder Taylor Cummings said. ". . . People should be in for a good one on Sunday."
The Terrapins, meanwhile, have made a habit of blowing out teams. They average a plus-8.7 goal differential and beat Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts, and Syracuse to get to the title game by six, 15, and 10 goals, respectively.
The Tar Heels and Terps showed off their depth in different ways Friday. After North Carolina starting goalie Megan Ward allowed five straight goals to Penn State and didn't make a save, backup Caylee Waters shone with eight saves and just six goals allowed in the final 51 minutes.
After starting 14 games and platooning with Ward all season, Waters made a crucial save to prevent overtime.
"We've been in that situation a couple times this season," Waters said. ". . . I didn't put any pressure on myself. If I had to make a save, I was excited about it."
Against Syracuse, Maryland had seven goal-scorers, including six goals from backups Jen Giles and Taylor Hensh. Of the Terrapins' 10 first-half goals, seven were scored by players other than their top four goal-scorers this year.
The depth that gave the Orange trouble could carry Maryland to victory once more.
"We're lucky enough that we have seven people on the field that can score," Cummings said.
Division III semifinals
Middlebury beat undefeated defending champion Cortland, 16-11, in the Division III semifinals on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium. Panthers goalie Katie Mandigo made a career-high 14 saves.
Trinity got past Franklin and Marshall, 6-2, in the second semifinal. Kiley Coffey scored a game-high three goals.