After spending the early part of the day digging through the wall of snow in front of my driveway and soaking my old bones in a hot bath, I joined the America East video stream of the twice delayed (from Thursday to Friday then from noon to 2 pm) season opener for Maryland's women's lacrosse team at UMBC. The Terps overcame a slow start and some sloppy play to defeat the Retrievers by a 14-3 final.
UMBC opened the contest with two goals in the first five minutes of play to put themselves in a surprising early 2-0 lead. Maryland needed less than two minutes to strike back and halve the deficit as Taylor Cummings got the Terps on the board with a free position shot. Maryland didn't get the equalizer until just over eleven minutes remained in the half. The tying goal came on another free position shot - this time from Kristen Lamon.
It was shortly after this point that I joined the stream. I immediately noticed some trends. First, the Terps defense looked solid playing against a Retrievers squad that clearly wanted to slow the pace. The Terps were selective and effective in choosing when to attack on defense and adeptly created turnovers. However, the Terps' passing and shot selection wasn't particularly sharp and they also had their share of turnovers and forced shots.
Very late in the half, Maryland started to find their stride and rhythm. The Retrievers picked up a yellow card with 1:54 to play and the Terrapins attack needed just fifty-two seconds to capitalize creating another free position opportunity for Cummings. The sophomore delivered again giving Maryland its first lead of the game. Maryland controlled the draw but with under a minute the Terps hurried a bit too much and forced a relatively quick shot that wasn't backed up. Retrievers goalie Anna Barnett came out of the crease to attempt the clear but heavy Terrapins pressure forced her into a bad pass that sailed out of bounds with about four seconds to play. With Barnett far out of position, Cummings tossed an entry pass to Brooke Griffin who took two quick steps and easily found the back of the open net giving the Terps a 4-2 halftime advantage.
Cummings controlled the opening draw of the second half and Maryland went quickly on the attack. Though the Terps missed their first shot, Megan Douty found Cummings cutting down the right side and the sophomore obliged her teammate by launching a shot into the back of the net for her third goal of the game and a 5-2 Terrapin lead. With only a minute and six seconds gone in the second half, the rout was on.
In the first half, the Terps needed almost seven minutes to score their first goal and nearly twelve minutes to score their second. Commencing with that third goal with 1:02 to play in the first half, Maryland needed just ten minutes of play to score goals four through ten. You've already read about goals one through five. Goals six through ten came like this:
GOAL # 6: Cummings picked up another free position goal with 28:04 to play wrapping up her scoring efforts for the day.
GOAL # 7: After a UMBC turnover, the Terps countered quickly. Erin Collins found Beth Glaros running free down the right side and hit her in stride for the score with 25:11 on the clock.
GOAL # 8: With 24:30 to play, freshman Zoe Stukenberg drew a foul as she cut across the eight meter and capitalized on the free position chance.
GOAL # 9: Stukenberg stuck again twenty seconds later taking a cross from the left and making a strong dodge from just outside the eight meter circle and ripped the back of the net.
GOAL # 10: Stukenberg completes the natural hat trick with a third consecutive goal this one coming with 20:35 remaining. The freshman attacked down the right alley, circled behind the goal and hammered home the point blank shot.
Though the pace of scoring slowed a bit, the Terps weren't quite finished with their run. Brooke Griffin picked up her second goal of the day on a free position shot and Kelly McPartland got inside her defender on a dodge from the left alley to put Maryland up 12-2. The ten goal advantage triggered the running clock. Two circumstances stop the running clock: (1) the trailing team cuts the lead below ten or (2) on a whistle with under two minutes to play.
Since Maryland was in the midst of (I think) fifteen consecutive draw controls with five of those credited to Cummings, the clock wouldn't stop. In fact, the Terps scored twice more before the Retrievers managed a breakaway goal with under five minutes to play. The two Terrapins goals came first on a free position from Stukenberg who, along with Cummings, led Maryland with four goals and finally on one of the few plays initiated from behind the net. Caroline Wannen launched her pass to Deb Milani as she cut across in front of the crease and the freshman notched her first as a Terrapinn.
Some closing observations: The structure of Maryland's offense looks as though it will be different from last year when the Terps initiated much of their attack from behind the goal capitalizing on the accurate passing and field vision of Alex Aust. If the first game is any indicator, this year the Terps will initiate more from the top and sides looking to create opportunities for one on one dodges.
As promised, Coach Reese played each goalie for a half. Abby Clipp got the start and Emily Kift played the second half. Neither keeper was seriously tested given that the Terps help so much possession as well as a 33-9 advantage in total shots and a 23-7 edge in shots on goal. Each goalie finished with two saves.
Finally, Reese played nearly all of her roster in the rout. With the home opener against Richmond looming Sunday, I'm sure the coach was happy to have the luxury of resting players as she did. Sunday's face off is at 1 pm at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.