Wednesday night the Maryland Terrapins women's lacrosse team played their second consecutive game against an opponent from the Colonial Athletic Association when the Towson Tigers came to the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex at College Park. The night may have been frigid but Maryland's offense was on fire matching their season high in scoring with nineteen goals. And, in a scenario that should give prospective opponents pause, this explosion came despite the Terps getting no goals from Taylor Cummings for the second consecutive game. So while the sparse crowd of 453 and the members of the media were freezing their butts off, Terps ended Towson's three game winning streak cruising to a 19-8 win. The Tigers fell to 5-5 while the Terps remained unbeaten extending their winning streak to twelve.
It may have ended as a running clock rout but the game certainly didn't start that way for Maryland. Towson captured the opening draw and got off a shot in the first minute that Terrapins' goalie Abby Clipp saved. But the Tigers aggressively pursued the Terps' keeper and Maryland failed to clear. Towson took advantage and got on the board first scoring just over two minutes into the game to take a 1-0 lead.
The Terps came roaring back scoring five consecutive goals in a span of eight and a half minutes. Brooke Griffin opened Maryland's scoring circling from behind the net to take a pass from Taylor Cummings who passed up a shot on a free position chance to get her teammate a better one. In terms of scoring, the next seven minutes became the Kelly McPartland show. The junior midfielder from Farmingdale, NY reeled off four straight beginning with a free position score that put the Terps ahead to stay with 26:02 to play in the first half.
Her next score came two and a half minutes later on an attack from the left dodging past her defender and putting her high shot inside the far post. Goal number three in the sequence came in a beautiful sequence off the ensuing draw. Cummings won the draw and found Griffin in the middle of Towson's defense. Griffin turned and saw McPartland behind the defense and twenty seconds after moving ahead 3-1, Maryland led 4-1. For her fourth goal, McPartland just blew past her defender.
But Towson wasn't quite done and they bounced back in the form of Taylor Moore. The junior attack followed McPartland's natural hat trick plus one with a natural hat trick of her own. She scored three times over the course of two minutes and the Tigers were right back in the game trailing only 5-4 with thirteen and a half minutes to play in the first half.
Wanting to avoid a repeat of the events in Saturday's game at James Madison, the Terps put the pedal to the metal ringing up the last five goals of the first half and the first two scores of the second to effectively put the game away. "I thought our offense really worked well together tonight," Maryland coach Cathy Reese said after the game. "I thought our offense for the first time, maybe all season worked well off ball. People were working together. They were cutting. They were creating good looks for us no matter who was in the game. We created opportunities for each other."
McPartland was the main beneficiary of this ball movement adding two goals to her early four goal outburst. "It's whoever happens to be open at that time, McPartland said. "It might not seem that way if one person has six goals someone else has one or none but if you're in the right spot at the right time and they hit you and your open then it works out for you that day."
Joining McPartland at the multiple goal scoring party were Brooke Griffin with four, and the quartet of Beth Glaros, Halle Majorana, Jen Mendez, and Zoe Stukenberg who scored two each.
Mendez' first goal was important (to me at least) because it put the Terps up by ten with 12:40 to play and started the running clock. A bit over three and a half minutes later, Mattie Meredith cut across just in front of the crease taking a feed from Stukenberg at the top of the eight meter and firing a shot home that was equally important to my ever numbing feet. By extending the lead to eleven, it provided some room for Towson to score and still keep the clock running. As the game played out, they did, scoring with just under three minutes remaining. But that only made the score 18-8 so the clock kept moving.
Mendez scored the last goal on a shot that looked like a trick shot. To the two old guys in the press box (I'm one) the shot resembled an "eephus" pitch. That means it looked something like this:
When the shot left her crosse it looked as though it would sail well high of the goal but it somehow found the back of the net. The goal closed the scoring - and briefly stopped the clock - as the Terps ran out the 19-8 win.
Life gets a bit tougher for Maryland as fourth ranked Boston College comes to College Park for a noon game on Saturday. The Terps then have the week off before they travel to North Carolina for a match up with the undefeated and top ranked Tar Heels on the fifth of April.