The eighth ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish came to College Park to take on the second ranked Maryland Terrapins women's lacrosse team Saturday afternoon and remained undefeated moving to 9-0 on the season and 3-0 in the ACC while dropping the Irish to 6-3 in a 16-10 win.
Notre Dame won the opening draw and after working the ball around the perimeter and a strong dodge by Rachel Sexton gave the Irish a good look at the goal and a 1-0 lead. Taylor Cummings won the next draw and the Terps drew a free position but Beth Glaros' shot went high. The senior midfielder drew another foul and converted on the second chance with a low bouncer to get the equalizer.
On the next draw, Erin Collins picked up the ground ball and another Irish foul gave the Terps their third free position of the game. This time the opportunity belonged to Cummings and she capitalized with a high shot. The Terps controlled the draw again but the Irish forced a turnover that Maryland countered with a strong stick check and got the ball back quickly. Cummings found a crossing Brooke Griffin and the junior scored with 25:58 to play in the half and the Terps had a 3-1 lead.
The defense and goalies dominated the next several minutes of play with Maryland's Abby Clipp making saves on three consecutive Notre Dame possessions. The first came on a Fighting Irish free position and the second on a wraparound attempt. While Maryland had a turnover and Allie Murray came up with two saves for the Irish.
And speaking of defense, Megan Douty once again drew one of the most dynamic scorers in the nation, Notre Dame's Courtney Fortunato. After keeping Duke's Kerrin Maurer and Syracuse's Kayla Traenor in check, it took an exceptional effort for Fortunato to score her only goal of the game. That came with 14:11 to play in the half on a behind the back shot that brought Notre Dame within one. Another Murray save led to another Irish score and with just under twelve minutes to play the score was tied at three. Notre Dame kept the pressure on Maryland's defense by winning the draw but the defense responded with Cummings causing a turnover but the Terps were called for a foul and turned the ball back to the visitors. Once again, the Terrapins' defense was up to the task and, after a crease violation by ND, scored on the counter with Brooke Griffin taking the pass from Jen Mendez across the goal and Maryland once again led.
The Terps backed that up with another score a minute and a half later after Kelly McPartland's free position attempt went flying off the post. Griffin initiated the offense from behind the goal and Zoe Stukenberg was the beneficiary. Next up it was McPartland scoring an unassisted goal on a strong dodge down the right alley making a shot fake that opened the far post.
Maryland had a chance to open a seven three lead when Notre Dame's Kiera McMullan picked up a two minute yellow card but a lax pass turned the ball over and the Irish capitalized scoring to close the gap to six to four.
In fact, Maryland's turnovers and inability not only to score but to simply protect the ball on extra-man situations kept the Irish in the game. Thus, despite the win, and a nice day at home after being on the road for a few weeks, Maryland Coach Cathy Reese said afterward, "The turnovers were awful. It makes me sick We gave up three goals when we were a man up and that's unacceptable. And we turned the ball over way too many times. We need to do a better job taking care of the ball."
However, the Terps are a resilient group and precisely a minute after ND's score Griffin found some space along the left baseline and the Terps again had a three goal lead.
The next draw led to a play of beauty. Cummings lofted the ball high toward the ND side of the circle. She controlled it in space and and made a long pass down the left sideline to Griffin. Griffin spotted McPartland streaking down the middle behind the Irish defense and when the junior easily converted the one on one the Terps had opened an 8-4 lead. A foul on the ensuing draw gave the Terps another chance to attack and they took advantage with Cummings finding Kristen Lamon open in the middle of the Irish defense. In thirty-nine seconds Maryland had stretched a two goal lead into a 9-4 margin that they took into the break.
The second half began much like the first ended with Maryland scoring quickly. Cummings got the ball to Erin Collins on the draw and the Terps rapidly formed their attack. Cummings turned playmaker and Griffin the goal scorer. Maryland led 10-4. After a missed Irish free position that the Terps had backed up, Beth Glaros extended the Terrapins' lead to seven on a strong rush down the middle but Notre Dame was able to capitalize on a Maryland turnover scoring on a free position with twenty-six and a half minutes to play in the half.
Sloppy play and good defense by both squads led to a lull in play over the next eight and a half minutes. The Terps made the Irish pay for a turnover when Alice Mercer intercepted a Notre Dame pass that led to Taylor Cummings picking up her second goal of the half and third of the game. Maryland had a player up opportunity on a Notre Dame foul on the draw but failed to convert two free position opportunities and when Notre Dame converted theirs the Irish trailed 12-6 with just over sixteen minutes to play.
Maryland responded quickly taking just 38 seconds to extend the lead back to seven at 13-6. The goal came on a highlight reel over the shoulder flip from Griffin taking a pass from Collins. "We needed a spark," Griffin said after the game. "I thought the behind the bark could give us that." The lead ballooned to eight after a long Terrapins' possession as McPartland rang up her third of the game. However, the Irish responded scoring with 10:17 to go. A misconduct foul on Notre Dame's coach gave Maryland another two minute player advantage and again the Terps failed to capitalize. For the third time, Notre Dame made them pay scoring on a free position after a three second call against the Terps.
Thirty seconds later the Terps again had the response. This time it came out of the crosse of Stukenberg. Her goal with 6:42 to play gave Maryland 1 15-8 lead. Cummings then picked up her fourth on a free position with three and a half to play. Trailing by eight, the Irish called a timeout.
In the final three minutes the Terps had a goal disallowed for being in the crease and the Irish added two including one at the buzzer with a player up for the final 16-10 Terps win.