So, I spent this afternoon at the entire Maryland Women's Lacrosse game - an 11 -3 thrashing of the Stony Brook Seawolves - and part of the day at the Maryland Men's Lacrosse game - an 8 -16 thrashing at the hands of the Cornell Big Red. Which one do you think will be my focus?
After watching the Terrapin women take care of business at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex, I bought a half price ticket and walked into Byrd Stadium with about three and a half minutes to go in the third quarter and the Terps trailing nine to six. The first play I saw was a Cornell player out hustling his Maryland counterpart to the sideline to gain possession. Sadly this typified the eighteen plus minutes of the game I saw live. Frankly, Cornell out hustled, out hit, and out executed Maryland in every phase of the game. I don't know if, in a best of seven game series the Big Red would be that much better than the Terrapins, but for the final eighteen and a half minutes they were clearly the better team today. Pick a phase of the game and Cornell was much better than Maryland. Face offs, check. Ground balls, check. Goal keeping, check. Offensive execution, Check. At least three of the goals came on virtually the same play with a Big Red attacker finding a hole between four Terrapin defenders four to six yards in front of a helpless Niko Amato. I saw that Jake's open thread had over 100 comments so I probably don't need to write anymore - and I won't.
On to the good news, the women's lacrosse team continued their unbeaten run moving on to the NCAA quarter finals dispatching Stony Brook by an 11-3 final score. The Terps hadn't played in nearly two weeks since capturing their fifth consecutive ACC Tournament Championship and the rust was apparent early. Combine that with the natural tendency to press a little bit in a tournament situation before the adrenaline comes under control and you can get a rough start which is exactly what happened to Maryland.
After the Seawolves took the opening draw on a Maryland penalty, they went into their slowdown offense and eventually worked a good shot opportunity that hit the post. The Terps recovered the ground ball and cleared successfully but had an unforced turnover on their first possession. Two more turnovers - one from each squad - followed in somewhat quick succession before the visitors turned a Maryland blocking foul in the midfield into the first goal of the game coming nearly six and a half minutes in.
Beth Glaros controlled the draw and the Terps worked their offense to earn a free position attempt for Brooke Griffin but her shot went wide and Maryland eventually turned the ball over. However, they quickly refgained possession as Alex Aust checked the ball free and Kelly McPartland picked up the ground ball. She found Taylor Cummings for an excellent opportunity but Stony Brook's goalie made the save. Defense ruled the middle of the first half as the Seawolves ran their slow down and the Terrapins probed for openings in the Stony Brook zone. Over the ten minute span following the initial goal, Stony Brook had more turnovers (3) than shot attempts (2 - one saved and one off the post). Maryland didn't fare much better with four shots and three turnovers. The Terps finally broke through when, after being pushed into the crease, Tewaaraton finalist Katie Schwarzmann, scored on a free position shot to tie the score with 13:25 to play in the half. Schwarzmann's goal seemed to settle the Terps down. After requiring sixteen and a half minutes to score their first goal, Maryland needed only 1:06 to score their second. Schwarzmann controlled the draw and the Terps went into their offense. Schwarzmann passed to McPartland who crossed to Glaros for the go ahead score.
Following an exchange of turnovers, Stony Brook gained possession with about ten and a half minutes left in the half. Although they attempted two perfunctory shots over their nearly five minutes of possession, they mostly played lob and catch in their attempt to shorten the game. Erin Collins finally forced a turnover and Megan Douty retrieved the ground ball. The Terps quickly turned the field and Maryland's other Tewaaraton finalist Alex Aust double the Terrapin lead on a free position shot. Prior to the ensuing draw, a Stony Brook player was temporarily excused when she was found to have an illegal stick. The Terps used the free draw control to work the offense and Brooke Griffin joined the free position scoring party for Maryland to open the lead to 4-1.
With the Seawolves playing slowly as they do - including a stretch where their goalie simply held the ball for about 25 seconds - and facing a stalwart Terrapin defense, they attempted no shots over the final four minutes of the half. The Terps, on the other hand, having settled down and deciphered the Stony Brook zone, managed three more shots - a free position from Taylor Cummings, a shot off the post by Griffin, and a shot by Aust that the goalie saved. Although they didn't connect on any of these shots, the Terps were clearly operating in their comfort zone and the the three goal halftime lead seemed bigger than it was.
Glaros controlled the opening draw if the second half and the Terps had their first free position attempt just 35 seconds into the half but the Seawolves goalie made the save on Schwarzmann's attempt. Erin Collins forced a turnover on the clear attempt and in the ensuing chaos in front of Stony Brook's goal, Griffin flicked the ball into the net for a 5-1 Terrapin lead. Shanna Brady created a turnover and picked up the ground ball after Stony Brook controlled the subsequent draw and Maryland quickly moved into attack mode with Glaros finding Cummimgs for the freshman's first goal of the the game.
Despite trailing by five, the Seawolves continued to run their tedious offense finally managing to cut the lead to 6-2 scoring after a free position shot hit the crossbar. Maryland's sixth goal came with 27:18 to go. Stony Brook's second came with 24:00 minutes left and it took the Terps all of twenty six seconds to extend the lead back to five. Collins controlled the draw and got the ball to Aust. Aust passed to McPartland who made a beautiful face dodge from the right and bang! Seven to two. The Seawolves netted their final goal on a free position shot with 22 minutes left.
The Terps controlled the draw and the clock running two minutes off while having one shot hit the post and another saved. The defense stepped up and Ilie Sanza caused her third turnover of the day and, with the Seawolves refusing to come out of their zone defense, the Terps decided to run the clock and did so for two and a half minutes before Cummings found Glaros cutting through the zone for an easy score. Aust controlled the draw and the Terps possession mirrored the previous one as Stony Brook held fast in their zone. After nearly two minutes of possession, Schwarzmann pulled two defenders toward her with an attack from the right and flipped a pass to Aust just behind the net. Aust found an open Brooke Griffin and Mary;and led 9-3.
Over the next few minutes, the Seawolves had to attack more on the offensive end but Kasey Howard was up to the task coming up with two saves. When Griffin netted her fourth goal of the game with just over six minutes remaining, Maryland became only the third team this season to reach double digits on Stony Brook who led the country with a 5.36 goals against average. Griffin was fouled on the play and Maryland used the ensuing free draw to once again run the clock against the Stony Brook zone before Schwarzmann drew a double team and found Aust open in the middle of the field for the final Terrapin score of the day.
Maryland will face Duke who defeated Nave 10-5 for a chance to move on to Philadelphia and the Final Four. Game time is TBA.
Todd Carton (AKA FHFAN)