Coming off a three game road trip in which they beat both seventh ranked Penn State and sixth ranked Duke, the Maryland women's lacrosse team came home to the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex for what amounted to little more than a midweek scrimmage against the William & Mary Tribe before they travel to face number 2 / 3 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome on Monday. The Terps came away with a 19-3 win improving to a perfect 7-0 on the season.
I think Maryland coach Cathy Reese said it perfectly when she started her post game remarks, " You know I...We...I don't even know what to say." She went on, "Tonight was a good opportunity for us to get a lot of playing time for a lot of our players." And that she did beginning with a starting lineup which featured 5 defenders, 5 midfielders and 1 attacker to go along with goalie Abbey Clipp. Two Terrapins stalwarts, second leading scorer Brooke Griffin and Beth Glaros who scored six goals in the game at Duke, didn't dress for the game. Reese gave no indication that either had any serious injury.
Though the Terps scored twice before the game was two minutes old, with Erin Collins netting a shot after a strong one on one attack from the left and Kelly McPartland scoring the first of her four goals on a free position shot, Maryland actually got off to a bit of a rough start over the first eight or nine minutes. In fact, the Tribe had tied the score at two with twenty-four and a half minutes to play in the first half. And when Taylor Cummings picked up a yellow card on the ensuing draw, giving the visitors a two minute player advantage, it began to look as though the Terps might be looking ahead to the game on Monday.
However, Maryland's Casey Pepperman caused a turnover and the Terps were able to clear and kill the penalty. Twenty-four seconds after she returned to the field, Cummings flashed from left to right in front of the goal taking a feed from Halle Majorana and scored her twenty-second goal of the season. Maryland still hadn't quite found their rhythm and while their defense continued to stifle the Tribe, things simply weren't clicking offensively. Kristen Lamon, ended a nearly seven minute scoring drought on a play that looked remarkably similar to the previous goal.
As the clock ticked under 11 minutes to play in the half, Maryland's offense finally began to heat the chilly and windy late afternoon. The Terps extended their run of goals from 2 to 7 using just over five minutes on the game clock. The onslaught started when Casey Pepperman caused another turnover on a check, picked up the ground ball, outran most of the Tribe down the field, and placed a perfect pass into the crosse of Zoe Stukenberg who finished with the score.
Stukenberg repaid the favor a minute later assisting on Jen Mendez' third goal of the season. McPartland completed her first half hat trick with back to back unassisted goals just 29 seconds apart and Taylor Cummings notched the Terps' ninth goal of the half with just over 5:36 to play. William & Mary's Ellen Shaffrey scored her second goal of the game to stop the Terrapins run at seven. Cummings, showing that she's more than just a scorer, assisted on Halle Majorana's first goal of the day and with seventeen seconds left in the half, one might have thought that would have wrapped up the scoring. One might have thought that but one would have been wrong as Stukenberg scored on a free position with three seconds to play putting Maryland up 11-3. Now the Terps were finished scoring. At least for the half.
In the second half, Coach Reese made even more liberal use of her bench beginning with inserting freshman Emily Kift in goal for her first game action since the Terps downed Richmond. As the evening grew chillier still, the Terps needed two minutes and thirty-five seconds to favorably answer my silent request to quickly score twice. Halle Majorana got things rolling coming from behind the cage to take a pass from Cummings at the top of the eight meter circle to score the first goal just eighteen seconds into the half. The sophomore then picked up her third assist on Jen Mendez' second score of the day that put Maryland up 13-3 and started the running clock.
McPartland and Bryn Boucher scored unassisted goals to put the Terps up 15-3 as the clock rolled under twenty minutes. The noteworthy aspect of Maryland's next three goals - coming from Caroline Wannen, Bairre Reilly, and Theo Kwas - was that each was the first in their Terrapins' career. Maddie Meredith closed out the scoring with an inadvertent goal with two seconds to play.
The Terps come back for a reality check when they travel to Syracuse for a 7 pm game on Monday. In their next home game at noon on Saturday March 15, Maryland will host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.