It was a chilly day as we settled in at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex for the women's lacrosse home opener. As the Maryland women prepared to face the Richmond Spiders, the FH & LC turned into an internet free zone. Whether this was do to sunspots, the NSA jamming the signal, or something far less nefarious, it had no impact on the Terps performance as they dominated the Spiders in a 15-5 romp.
Maryland controlled the opening draw and it took all of fifty seconds before Kelly McPartland spotted an opening and beat her defender down the left alley putting a one hopper into the goal for a quick Terrapin lead. When Richmond won the second draw, their strategy became obvious - try to slow the game and deny the Terps possessions by tossing the ball around the perimeter.
The Spiders held the ball for about three and a half minutes without ever making any serious penetration inside the eight meter circle. Eventually a pass went astray and and the Terps took advantage of the unforced turnover. This time it was Taylor Cummings. The sophomore took a pass at the top of the eight meter arc and somehow wove her way through four Richmond defenders to get a good look at the goal and five and a half minutes in Maryland led 2-0.
Draw number three went to Maryland but Richmond goalie Emily Boyce contained Beth Glaros' shot. No matter. Another lazy Spiders pass resulted in a turnover and Glaros drew a foul inside the eight. With a chance at a free position, the senior capitalized and the scorekeeper rung up goal number three for the home team.
Glaros' goal came with 21:51 to play in the first half. Before the clock ticked under twenty minutes, Maryland had a four goal lead. This goal came on a restart from behind the cage with Richmond's goalie out of position, Brooke Griffin put a perfect pass to the crosse of Halle Majorana just in front of the crease and she quickly put it in the net.
Terrapin goal number five came when McPartland intercepted a pass near midfield and simply outraced the Spiders defense down the field for an easy one on one finish. Four minutes later the Terps were a player up when Cummings joined McPartland in the multiple goal scorers club. Cummings' second goal came on a free position awarded when a Richmond defender simply bulldozed her as she cut through the circle.
The Terps' seventh score came, like the fifth, after an intercepted pass in the midfield - albeit a bit deeper than the previous pass. This time Alice Mercer made the play. Also like McPartland, Mercer ran past several Richmond players. Unlike McPartland, Mercer spotted a teammate with a better look and passed ahead to Majorana who cashed in her second goal of the game.
A piece of advice if you come to see the Terps play: Sometimes it's not a good idea to look away. Like all Cathy Reese teams, these Terps can score quickly. In this instance, Mercer picked up the ground ball off the ensuing draw and Maryland went on the attack. Again it was Cummings who scored this time using a ridiculous spin move to get past her defender. A full forty-nine seconds elapsed between the two Terrapins goals.
By this time, Richmond had abandoned their slow down strategy and had started to attack the goal but with very little effect as the Maryland defense played with solid precision. The Spiders finally broke through scoring on a free position chance with 1:19 remaining. Remember that I wrote that it can be dangerous to look away from these Terps? Well, while the Spiders were setting up their free position and the officials were settling the ensuing draw after the goal, I had left the press area to take care of some "pressing business" thinking that with only a minute to play I couldn't miss much. Wrong. Freshman Zoe Stukenberg needed all of 26 seconds to ring up goal number nine and send the Terps to halftime with a 9-1 lead.
The second half was little more than a formality and another chance for Coach Reese to get some of her freshmen and backups some game experience. Beth Glaros scored on a pass from Majorana just over a minute in. Four and a half minutes later Stukenberg became the Terps' fifth multi-goal scorer of the game. Stukenberg's goal put Maryland up by ten and started the running clock with 23:16 to play in the game. McPartland followed about a minute and a half later scoring on another free position. With Reese having gone deep down her bench, the Spiders scored back to back goals over a span of about two minutes prompting the coach to reinsert some of the front line players. "We got burned in the second half a few times because we were late on cutters or late on slides," Reese said after the game. "But overall we had a strong effort defensively and we definitely need to do that this season."
Maryland responded with three straight goals the last coming on a lovely pass from Caroline Wannen initiating from behind to Stukenberg and the freshman completed her second hat trick in as many games in her Terrapin career. Richmond scored two late goals to make the final margin ten for the Terps.
Still, this wasn't a perfect game and Coach Reese and her staff definitely have some things they can work on in practice this week. The first will be in the draw circle where the Spiders held their own with the Terps as each team finished with eleven. I asked Taylor Cummings about it after the game, "Richmond did a great job of crashing on the circle and putting the ball places it normally doesn't go. But when we didn't get the ball we really rode hard and tried to get it back quickly," she said.
Another area Richmond stayed even with Maryland was getting to ground balls. Here again the stat line showed the squads picking up an equal number - thirteen. "We were even on draws and ground balls and those are hustle stats. We need to do a better job of that moving forward and we'll make sure of that on Wednesday."
On Wednesday, by the way, Boston University comes to College Park for a four pm scheduled face off.