It was a busy day in College Park for Maryland athletes with WBB kicking of their NCAA Tournament run, WLAX hosting James Madison, MLAX facing off against UNC, and softball taking on UVA in a double header to open their ACC slate. The teams went 4-2. I was 4-0. I started my day in the Comcast Center where the fourth seeded Terrapins faced off against the Quinnipiac Bobcats. After a shaky start, Maryland cruised to a 72-52 win. I left that game with about four and a half minutes to go and the Terps ahead 64-38. I jogged across the parking lot to the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex to catch the second half of the women’s lacrosse 18-5 rout of James Madison. The it was back across the parking lot to watch the softball team improve their record to 13-16 with a double header sweep of the Virginia Cavaliers. I failed to get to the east side of campus where both men’s teams in action fell short. Baseball dropped an 8-7 decision to Wake Forest and men’s lacrosse dropped their first of the year to losing to North Carolina by a final of 10-8. Because I like to end my recap columns with wins whenever possible, I’ll start by writing about the two games I didn’t see.
After three scoreless innings, the Terps got on the board first scoring in the bottom of the fourth. Kyle Convissar smacked a one out double to right. K.J. Hockaday followed with a single to center moving Convissar to third. He scored on Kevin Martir’s groundout. Maryland added a run in the sixth. Lamonte Wade, Jr. opened the inning with a bunt single and moved all the way to third on an error by Wake’s second baseman. The miscue allowed Convissar to reach first and the Terps had runners on the corners with none out. Wade scored on Hockaday’s grounder to short but the Demon Deacons failed to turn the double play. Hockaday stole second to get himself into scoring position with one out but Maryland failed to capitalize and the Terps held onto a 2-0 lead at the end of six. After seven innings of four hit shutout ball from Terrapin starter Brady Kirkpatrick, the Maryland bullpen failed to hold on to the lead and the floodgates opened against a series of Terps pitchers as Wake Forest poured eight runs across in the top of the eighth. These Terps are nothing if not resilient and t hey began to scratch their way back in the bottom half of the inning. Wade opened with a double to left center and Convissar quickly picked him up with a double down the right field line. Martir singled to left and Convissar scored on an error by the WF left fielder. The misplay also allowed Martir to move up a base but was stranded there. The Terps had closed the gap to 8-5. Cam Hatch came on to pitch the ninth for Maryland and after giving up a leadoff walk retired the side in order. Jack Cleary, pinch hitting for Hatch led off with a double down the left field line. After Greg Olenski flied out, Charlie White laid down a bunt. He reached when the pitchers throw got by the first baseman that allowed him to take second and let Cleary score. Wade was out on a come backer but White moved up to third. Convissar picked up his second RBI of the day grounding a single to right. Hockaday lined a double to left center driving in Convissar and pulling the Terps within one. Hockaday moved to third on a wild pitch and Martir walked but the Terrapin rally fell just short when Blake Schmit grounded out to third. The start time for the rubber game of the three game set has been moved up to noon on Sunday.
The previously unbeaten men’s lacrosse team faced off against ACC rival North Carolina in front of just over 3,000 at Byrd Stadium. The Terps broke out on top early when Owen Blye scored just forty-seven seconds in off an assist from Kevin Cooper. The Tar Heels answered quickly scoring back to back goals to take a 2-1 lead with just over 11 minutes left in the first period. Maryland tied the score at two on an unassisted goal from Blye after a 30 second clock warning. At this point, the visitors took control of the game. They scored three straight to end the first with a 5-2 lead and the only goal of the second to move into halftime leading 6-2. In the third quarter, Carolina scored two goals between the 11 minute mark and the 10 minute make to move ahead by six. The Terps finally broke a nearly 33 minute scoring drought with a goal from Kevin Cooper that cut the margin to 8-3. Carolina bounced back scoring after a Maryland turnover to move back in front by six. But Jake Bernhardt scored twice in the last three minutes for the Terrapins and they entered the final period down by four. A man up goal by Mike Chanenchuk pulled the Terps within three with twelve minutes to go. Neither team mounted a serious threat until UNC scored with just over five minutes remaining. Maryland took advantage of a tripping penalty on North Carolina as John Haus scored with just under four minutes left. The Terps picked up one more goal as Cooper found the back of the net with 26 seconds remaining but the Terps ran out of time and their comeback fell short losing by a final of 10-8. The Terps take to the road to face off against Virginia in a Saturday match up.
The Maryland women’s basketball team had just over two weeks off since their last game – a loss to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament. And whole the break was doubtless good for their legs, their game showed signs of rust especially early. The visiting Quinnipiac Bobcats came into Comcast Center as the champions of the Northeastern Conference and rolling on a 22 game winning streak. Using a player rotation that frequently substituted five players at a time, the visitors from Connecticut came out of the gate aggressively and confidently. The Terps looked both a bit rusty and unprepared for their aggression and quickness. Alyssa Thomas who would finish as the game’s leading scorer with twenty-nine points didn’t get on the board until she made a lay up with just under 12 minutes to go in the first half. Meanwhile, Maryland was turning the ball over, not getting it inside, and settling for and missing jumpers while Quinnipiac was raining three pointers dropping in four en route to a 21-12 lead with 6:56 left in the first half. At this point, the Terps ratcheted up the defensive pressure and Alyssa Thomas asserted her will on the game. A lay up by Thomas triggered a 29-5 Maryland run that would span the last six and a half minutes of the first half and the first six and a half minutes of the second and take the Terps from minus nine to plus fifteen. The first half segment of the run was 15-2 featured five points from Tianna Hawkins (including the Terps only 3-pointer of the half), four from Alicia DeVaughn, and four points, three rebounds and an assist from Thomas. The Terps led 27-23 at the break. The Terrapins scored the first six points of the second half opening up a ten point margin before the Bobcats made a three pointer after being held scoreless for a nearly six and a half minute stretch spanning the first and second halves. The Terps then ran off eight straight points – all from the free throw line as they continued to push the ball inside and assert their dominance on the boards. The smaller Bobcats had managed to stay even with the Terps in the first half with each team pulling down 22 rebounds. Maryland finished the game with a 59-41 edge on the glass so what shall we imagine was the focus of Coach Frese’s halftime instructions? By the time the Terrapins opened up a 26 point advantage at 64-38 with just under five minutes to go, I decided I could safely head over to lacrosse to watch the second half of that game. Here’s what happened after I left: Quinnipiac made back to back three pointers to cut the margin to twenty. Hawkins and Thomas combined for six points (2 lay ups by T-Hawk and one by AT) around a Bobcat free throw to bump the lead back to twenty-five. Quinnipiac made another three pointer and Caitlyn Thomas entered the game with about 2 minutes left. Chloe Pavlech made her only basket of the game and the Terps coasted to a 72-52 win. To win the game, Maryland needed only one point from someone not named Thomas or Hawkins as the two combined to match Quinnipiac’s 52 point total. Thomas led the team with 29 and Hawkins added 23. AT pulled down 13 rebounds and dished out 5 assists to accompany her scoring outburst. Although T-Hawk grabbed an impressive 16 rebounds, Alicia DeVaughn took an even more impressive career high 17. Maryland will take on Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at 7:00pm Monday.
Three minutes of game time after I walked into the FH & LAX Complex, James Madison scored a goal to make the score 8-5 in favor of Maryland. Here’s what happened before I got there: JMU controlled the opening draw and got off a shot that Kasey Howard saved but could control and thte Dukes eventually scored to take a 1-0 lead. They pulled ahead 2-0 on a free position goal with 24:47 to go in the half. Though they failed to score until 17:04 remained in the half, the Terps then did what they do best, score quickly and in bunches. The first goal came from Kristen Lamon on a pass from Alex Aust. Aust scored just 22 seconds later with an assist from Brooke Griffin. It took all of a minute and eight seconds before Aust scored again on a free position. Katie Schwarzmann got into the act just over a minute later netting a free position of her own and freshman Taylor Cummings scored an unassisted goal a minute and fifteen seconds or so after Schwarzmann and the Terps had run from a 2-0 deficit to a 5-2 lead in just under five minutes of playing time. The teams traded goals with Kelly McPartland and Aust scoring for the Terps who held a 7-4 edge at the break. Beth Glaros controlled the opening draw of the second half and it took her all of six seconds to find Aust who found the net for the fourth time. Then I arrived and Madison scored a few minutes later. Here’s what happened next: Taylor Cummings controlled the draw and off a free position, Aust passed to Lamon who notched her second goal of the day with 20:38 to go (9-5). Megan Doughty controlled the draw and the ball found its way to Cummings who scored the Terps 10th goal with 20:04 left (10-5). After a JMU time out, Cummings controlled another draw and Aust hit Lamon who scored with 19:32 left (11-5). Schwarzmann controlled the draw and Aust assisted on Erin Collins goal with 18:50 left (12-5). Collins controlled the draw and Brooke Griffin scored off an assist from Kelly McPartland with 18:27 remaining (13-5). That’s 5 goals in just over 2 minutes. As I said: Quickly and in bunches. JMU finally controlled a draw but Maryland forced a turnover. An errant pass gave the ball back to Madison but Aust trapped the Madison player on the sideline and got the ball back for the Terps. She fed the ball to Cummings who whit fellow freshman Hall Majorana in stride for another Maryalnd goal and a 14-5 lead. Erin Collins intercepted a pass and that led to an unassisted Schwarzmann goal. Jen Mendez created a turnover in Madison’s offensive end and drew a foul that led to a yellow card on the Dukes. A foul by Madison’s goalie led to an easy free position goal for Majorana who then followed up with a spectacular interception of a long cross field attempt and sprinted in for an easy one on one goal that ended Maryland’s 8-0 run. The twelve goal lead allowed Coach Reese to once again substitute liberally and the Dukes scored three goals in the last nine minutes to close to 17-8 before sophomore Taylor Salandra scored on a free position shot with 40 seconds left to give the Terps the final 18-8 margin. Next on tap, the Terps travel to Towson for a 7:00 pm face off with the Tigers on Tuesday night.
Now it was time for me to jog over to Robert Taylor Stadium to catch as much of the softball double header as possible. When I got there, it was the bottom of the third and Maryland had just tied the score at three apiece. This is how it got that way: Virginia score tall three of their runs in the top of the first without benefit of a hit. They were the beneficiaries of two walks, a throwing error, and a pair of sacrifice flies. Maryland got two back in their half of the first. Amanda McCann led off with a single to right and senior Sara Acosta – who was being feted as the senior of the day – followed with an infield single. Hot hitting freshman Lindsey Schmeiser singled to knock in McCann. Acosta scored on a passed ball. In the third, after McCann struck out, Acosta was hit by a pitch. Schmeiser laced a double to center scoring Acosta and this is where I came in. With Schmeiser on second, Candice Beards struck out. Nikki Maier, in a terrific at bat fouled off four pitches while working the count full and was eventually hit by a pitch. This opened the door for catcher Shannon Bustillos who blasted a three run shot through the wind over the left field fence to cap the four run inning and give the Terps a 6-3 lead. Things remained uneventful until the top of the sixth when UVA got a leadoff single to center just out of Schmeiser’s reach. They followed this with a double to right center and a single to left that scored two runs when the Terps mishandled the throw to third. With a runner on second and no one out, freshman Maddie Martin, the reigning ACC pitcher of the week buckled down and got a groundout and back to back strikeouts to end the inning and preserve the one run lead. She retired the side in order in the seventh and the Terps had their first ACC win by a final of 6-5.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Schmeiser too to the circle for the Terps in the night cap and retied the side in order in the first. Maryland jumped on top early in this one. McCann led off with a walk and Acosta did the same. Lindsey Schmieser ripped a line drive homer to left staking her big sister to a 3-0 lead. The Cavaliers bounced back with 2 in the second. After Kaitlyn Schmeiser made a great diving grab of a soft liner to start the inning, Virginia put together three straight hits – a single followed by a double to left followed by a triple off the right field fence to cut the lead to 3-2 but Schmeiser got a strikeout and a pop out to left to preserve the Terrapin’s advantage. The Terps got another three in the second. Juli Strange walked to lead off the inning and moved to second on McCann’s sacrifice. Schmeiser (L) walked and Bustillos lined a single to left to score Strange. Maier walked to load the bases and the Terps scored two more when the Cavs second baseman mishandled Corey Schwartz’s grounder. Maryland 6-2 at the end of two. The Terrapins put up another crooked number in the third. Melissa Mancuso led of with a single to left and Strange followed with a single to center. Both runners moved up on McCann’s sacrifice bunt and scored one batter later on another Virginia error. The Terps took a comfortable 8-2 lead into the fourth. Virginia did get a run back in the top of the fourth but Schmeiser (K) was cruising along and the 8-3 lead seemed comfortable enough. Maryland added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Bustillos led off with a double and pinch runner Bria Taylor scored on a wild pitch and passed ball. In the top of the seventh, the visitors would string together a few hits to make things interesting but with a runner on second and two out and the score 9-6 Coach Wattten brought in Martin to pitch in relief of Schmeiser (K). Martin recorded the final out on a fly ball to right and the Terps completed the double header sweep to move to 2-0 in the ACC and 13-16 on the year. Maryland closes out the series Sunday at 1:00 pm.
In a quick note, Jimmy Sheptock solidified his All-American status finishing sixth at the NCAA wrestling championship in Des Moines.
(And in a note to Dan if you read this, the answer is just under 4 hours)