I thought that today would present my first opportunity to see Maryland’s softball team in person. Unfortunately in anticipation, I assume, of the forthcoming “snowquester” game time was moved up to 3:30 and the second game of a scheduled double header was cancelled. By the time I arrived at Robert E. Taylor Stadium the game was already in the bottom of the sixth. The Pirates had scored three in the top half of the inning and the Terps trailed 3-0. I arrived just in time to see Shannon Bustillos fly out to left to end the inning. Freshman Brenna Nation started the top of the seventh by yielding a leadoff double and saw the runner advance on a passed ball. She followed by getting a ground out to short with the runner holding at third. A ground ball to first led to the Pirate runner being tossed out at the plate. And she appeared on the verge of escaping with no damage. However, an error by the shortstop with two outs kept the inning alive and Nation surrendered a three run home run lined over the left field fence that provided the visitors a comfortable 6-0 lead. The Terps scratched back a bit in the home half of the inning – loading the bases with one out and scoring their first run of the game when pinch hitter Lexi Carroll was hit by a pitch. The inning and game ended when Maryland scored their second run on a sacrifice fly but a bit of overly aggressive base running led to a run down between second and third and the final out. Final Score: SHU 6- MD 2.(I apologize to my readers if this is a bit sketchy but it was too cold for me to take notes and as I write this neither university’s web site has posted a box score to refresh my aging memory.)The Terps are back in action on Friday with five teams coming to College Park for the Miken Maryland Invitational.
The early end to the softball game left me time to trot across campus to the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex to catch the second half of the women’s lacrosse game between the number one ranked Terrapins and my alma mater the UMBC Retrievers. Fortunately, I had some folks there who caught me up on the first half action. The big event I missed was UMBC scoring the first goal of the game a minute and seventeen seconds in. Finishing up a grueling stretch of three games in five days, this marked the first time Maryland had trailed in any game this season. Something about being behind must have set Katie Schwarzmann off because the Terps promptly scored three straight with Schwarzmann assisting on goals to freshman Halle Majorana and fellow senior Alex Aust before scoring an unassisted goal of her own. The three goal outburst required less than two minutes of playing time. The Retrievers tried slowing the pace of play and were rewarded with a goal that cut the lead to 3-2. Maryland bounced back with four straight. First, Aust found Schwarzmann. Then she found sophomore Kristen Lamon who has become something of a scoring machine of late. Lamon assisted on a goal to Brooke Griffin with just under 17 minutes remaining in the half and Aust repeated that about two minutes later giving Griffin her second score of the night. The teams traded goals until UMBC got in the last lick with five seconds to go. Maryland’s last two scores of the half came from Aust’s stick and the Terrapins took a slim 9-5 lead into the break.
As Duke had done earlier this season when they scored at the end of the first half, UMBC carried the momentum from their late goal into the second half winning the draw and scoring to cut the Terp lead to three. Leading 9-6, Maryland went on an 8-1 run that effectively salted the game away. With freshman Taylor Cummings in the circle, Maryland controlled draw after draw to spark the scoring run. Cummings started the scoring with an unassisted goal that was quickly followed by scores from Lamon, Griffin and Cummings again with all three being the beneficiaries of an assist from Aust. An unassisted goal from Kelly McPartland capped the five goal run that gave the Terps a 14-6 lead. UMBC finally controlled a draw and scored to cut Maryland’s lead to seven but the Terps again had the answer in a cluster of goals. Lamon cut across the middle a scored on a high shot off a pass from Aust, Schwarzmann bounced in a low one, and Aust scored on a free position shot to put the Terps up 17-7. With a comfortable lead and time running down, Coach Reese began to filter in substitutes until virtually no Maryland starters remained on the field. The Retrievers scored a few late but relatively meaningless goals (including two off free position shots) to make the final score appear closer than the reality. Alex Aust continued her remarkable scoring tear. After 5 goals and 5 assists at UVA, followed by 4 goals and 5 assists against Hofstra, she added 4 more goals and a Maryland single game record 7 assists in the game tonight against UMBC. This gives Aust an astonishing 30 points (13 goals and 17 assists) in the last three games. Sophomore Kristen Lamon continued her scoring binge as well. Her three goals tonight up her three game tally to eleven. More impressive for Lamon is that all of her work is done coming off the bench. The Terps are off until Saturday when 13th ranked Penn State travels to College Park for a noon game.
In women’s basketball news, the ACC announce two all rookie teams today. Maryland’s Chloe Pavlech made the Blue Ribbon Panel team and Malina Howard was named to the Head Coaches All Freshman Team. Alyssa Thomas and Tianna Hawkins received First Team All ACC honors from both groups. So, congratulations, Terps hoopsters.
On a personal side note, this is my 100th fan post which seems like a lot. Also, I am travelling to Greensboro on Thursday to watch the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament. I don’t travel with a laptop or other mobile device so depending on my time and access to the hotel computer, you might not see updates from me on those games or the games of the other teams I usually cover that I’ll be missing. I’ll be back in full force around March 11th. Go Terps!
Todd Carton (AKA FHFAN)