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May 28, 2017

Kali Hartshorn

Cathy Reese

Caroline Steele

Zoe Stukenberg

Boston, Massachusetts

Maryland - 16, Boston College - 13

THE MODERATOR: Joining us is head coach Cathy Reese, and players Caroline Steele, Kali Hartshorn, and Zoe Stukenberg. Coach, if you don't mind, we'll open with a statement from you.

COACH REESE: Sure, I'd like to start off and say congratulations to Boston College. They were a tough team today, and a tough opponent. To kind of cap it off, was really proud of our team. Proud of our girls' effort. We struggled shooting in the first half, 5 for 21 or something. We came out in the second half on fire. Give these guys all the credit. They played hard. They played their hearts out. To have the season that they had this year going undefeated was something that's really special. So huge congratulations to all of my players.

Q. Caroline, first of all, talk about winning the National Championship and six goals?
CAROLINE STEELE: It's really an unbelievable feeling. We worked so hard this season and finally put it all together. Today was a team effort as it always is. Yeah, I mean, it always is.

ZOE STUKENBERG: Caroline played great. She was on fire. We needed her. No one else was, and she stepped up when we needed her, and it was unbelievable.

Q. Zoe, coming into the year, a lot of people were thinking Maryland's young. What is this Maryland team going to look like? You and the few vets on that field really had to bring these young players in, take them under your wing. What did you see out of them, their growth over the season?
ZOE STUKENBERG: Yeah, I definitely think, I guess, there were a lot of doubters coming into this season losing two of the best players arguably to ever play the game with Alison Taylor. I always get asked this question like what did you do to instill confidence in the younger players? And you have such a young team, how do they play with such poise? And Nadine and I always answer that this is an easy group to lead. They're so self-motivated and so selfless, and they're so driven. I don't know. They're so talented. They're the greatest group. I think that all ten seniors just did an awesome job in showing every single player on the field that they believed in them and they trusted them to finish this season out the way we wanted and the way that our class kind of, I thought, deserved to go out. I think that our team chemistry is kind of -- you could see it evolve throughout the year. I think that in playoff time, that's what you see. Those are the teams that end up on top are the teams that can battle back from being down in Stony Brook or the teams that can shoot 5 for 21 in the first half and find a way to win the National Championship. That doesn't come down to -- I don't know. That just comes down to team chemistry.

Q. Zoe, now that your Terp career is over?

Q. Looking back at the four years when you were recruited out of high school, you get to College Park, reflecting on those four years, how was the ride, and how did it live up to, I guess, the 17-year-old expectations you had when you first got here?
ZOE STUKENBERG: You're going to make me cry thinking about all four years at Maryland. Coming to Maryland was so much more -- this is more than a Lacrosse team. This is a family, and this was everything I ever dreamed or hoped of. This was way more. I love Maryland. I love everything about it. I love Cathy. I just can't speak highly enough of her. We're not just Lacrosse players to her. I think that we're not Lacrosse players to each other. We matter. I don't know how to put it into words really. These people are special, and the people I've met over the four years are special. Every single person I've had the privilege to play with really left a mark on me. I feel like when I look back on four years, it was an unbelievable Lacrosse experience. Three for four isn't too shabby. Finishing up your senior season undefeated is pretty awesome. What I'm going to remember is the person I became, and hopefully continue to become. And the people who helped shape who I am, and the moments when things were pretty crappy and you didn't really know, I don't know -- the people that picked you up. My teammates and my coaches were always there for me, and that's what I'll always remember is those moments when you really don't know how you're going to get to dinner, and Cathy looks you in the eyes and says it's all going to be okay. That's Maryland.

Q. In the first half it seemed like they had some answers for the offense. What was the message at halftime from Cathy and the coaches, because you got 11 goals and that's a big difference.
KALI HARTSHORN: Yeah, we were 5 for 21. Our shots were not falling at all. Getting that quick goal within the first 30 seconds or so really, I think, brought us up. But I think what we didn't do is we didn't capitalize on situations when we could have. I think during halftime we said zero, zero, obviously, 5-5. Cathy just motivated us. It's all about us this year. It's been our motto, and I think we really went out and we did do us. We were behind each other 110%. I just love these girls. They're just my best friends.

CAROLINE STEELE: Yeah, at halftime, Cathy all year has been like it's never negative, guys get back to your game plan and play your game. Just have each other's back and play for each other. No one's selfish. No one has been selfish all year, and I think that's what makes it so great. I think that picked us up at halftime all season and we got it done.

Q. When we asked Coach Walker how her team was so resilient and able to come back, she said she runs 55 plays with 12 options. I was just wondering, how do you game plan for that kind of offense or attack?
COACH REESE: Well, their offense has continued to grow throughout the season. They have a lot of different threats on offense for us. We like to focus on tendencies more so than 55 plays with all those options. That's just not the way I do things. They're dangerous. We have a lot of respect for them. I love Acacia. So they're a tough team to defend, and they had some good opportunities early on. I thought our goalie Meg Taylor came up with some great saves, especially in the second half, to be able to limit some of them. We gave up, I thought, too many second chances today. There were somewhere we'd have a good stop and they'd get the ball back somehow. But their offense is tough. They fight hard, they play hard, and they have a lot of good looks in there.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how difficult it was last time you played? They didn't have Kent. How difficult of a match-up was she this year?
COACH REESE: Well, she's such a talented player. Boston College is a different team with her than they are early in the season while she's still competing in hockey. She's tough to defend. She's got great field vision. When you watch her play, she can see the field really well and she can find her open teammates. Obviously strong stick skills and a good scorer. So not competing in the ACC, we don't play them. We played them early March. So it's been a long time since we've seen Boston College play coming into this weekend. But obviously she's crucial, and critical to their success. She's been a big part of where they were able to go this season.

Q. You got very emotional when Zoe was talking, and I don't want to make you cry again.
COACH REESE: I'm good at crying these days.

Q. Can you talk about Zoe, Nadine and that class and all they've done for this program?
COACH REESE: Yeah, you know this. Those two players, Zoe and Nadine, and you guys hear it when you hear Zoe talk, are so special. They're so special to me. Just special to Maryland Lacrosse in general. They're just great leaders. They may be two of the best leaders that I've seen. They're the first ones out there ball hunting or carrying balls or helping people with bags. They're just doing it all.

To have had the careers they've had is something really special. And it's hard because I can't think of life without them because they've been such a huge part of our success for these past four years. But I think the most important part of all of it is they're such good people. They care about their teammates. They love the people that surround them. They're always willing to help and checking in on people.

I always tell them, too, there is more to life than Lacrosse. Where we sit here on this big stage, and everyone is talking about wins and losses, these guys go on. Every year good players come through your program and move on. Those two are going to do something really special.

Q. To harp on the point of having good people come through your program, you had a bunch of former players right behind the bench, and they were going crazy like they were on the field the entire game. They just looked so happy after you guys won and the players ran up to them. How important is it for you for the past players to still be in touch with the program and show their support like that?
COACH REESE: Yeah, that was huge. I felt like I was heckled for a lot of the game, but it was all in a good way. Our alumni is very important to me. Being alum myself, those connections and those relationships that you make during your time at Maryland are what lasts forever. It makes me so happy and so proud that we can get a group of those people up here in Boston to support these guys.

My goal as a coach is to have them graduate and have loved their experience at Maryland. So for me, there is nothing more rewarding than turning around and seeing them all there. You know, to me that shows that they think Maryland Lacrosse is something special, and they do want to continue being a part of that.

Q. I know you hate to talk about last year and you look at each season as its own entity. But did last year kind of give you a new -- do you appreciate this maybe more now because of what you guys went through last year and having to lose in the title game?
COACH REESE: I think it's interesting because I was a part of four National Championship teams as a player, and I don't think you realize how hard it is as a coach until you coach. Then you're there, and there are so many great teams out there and everyone is fighting for it and going. Then to find yourself competing on Final Four weekend is so awesome. These guys like Zoe, they've been in four National Championship games during their career. With half our team never knowing the feeling of winning. Just the juniors and seniors, they can remember that feeling from winning back in '15.

So I think that's a little bit something that was unsaid that probably did motivate a little bit. Just to have that feeling and know what it felt like when that final whistle blew was I'm sure something in the back of their head. But I don't, I don't talk about it. It's not like we're trying to -- that championship was won, and that was won not by us. We're not trying to get that one back. We were trying to go after this season and trying to be the best that we could this season. So we don't really talk about the past. That's just the way it is, and that's the way we roll. So these guys have won this, they've earned this, and they'll hang on to it forever.

Q. You and Acacia go way back through many different places. What do you think of her and her program? Did you see certain tendencies in this game that you just know that's what she brings with Boston College that you tried to use for your own team in this game?
COACH REESE: Sure, well, Acacia's done a great job during her time at Boston College. I coached her for a year while I was an assistant at Maryland, and we have a great relationship. Her team plays hard. They've got a really powerful offense, and you can see. Acacia was such a great player, too, back during her time. You can see how that translates to her team on the field. They've got great ball movement, great foot movement. They're hard to defend. All the things that Acacia brought as well to her playing days.

I'm proud of her. I'm excited for her moving forward. She's done a great job to be where she is competing for a National Championship in however many years she's been there. She looks like she's having a lot of fun, and that's something that makes me happy too.

Q. Cathy, talk about the undefeated season. We've had talks in the past about sometimes that can work against you. But this team seems oblivious to it.
COACH REESE: It's funny. They were. Zoe turns around at the end. The game is over, and she says, wait, we didn't lose. Did we just go undefeated this year? So they were oblivious to it. It was something we didn't talk about. We didn't discuss it. We did things one game at a time. So if they seemed that way, it's because they were.

Q. Well, you never schedule to go undefeated. You take the toughest schedule there is. Talk about the Maryland way, and the fact that you have coaches blossoming around the country. You saw it today kind of looked like a microcosm of the intensity and the statistics were all even. You found a way to win though. But the Maryland way, is it spreading across the Lacrosse world?
COACH REESE: Well, there's a lot of people out there with ties to Maryland that have been a part of Maryland Lacrosse throughout. I think it's pretty cool. You look at this Final Four, and there were a lot of coaching connections to Maryland Lacrosse.

So it's pretty cool to see. I don't know. What is the answer, I don't know. But these guys came out and fought hard every day this year. So we lost the final game last year, and that was it for that season. I don't know. Everyone says what is the secret? I don't know. They just keep at it. They're fighting, doing their thing, and they're trying to be the best they can and really fighting hard for that.

So you see a lot of people continuing with Lacrosse, and that's our hope; that people love the sport so much and they're passionate about it that they want to continue to be involved. Whether it's coaching in college or coaching high school or whatever it may be. Just continue to be involved. So that's something I'm proud of. I'm proud to be a part of that. I'm proud to have played for Cindy and moved on and continued to have the opportunities that I have to. So hopefully our players will continue that way as well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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