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Show of Force: #4 Terps dominate #18 Spartans, 4-2.

Two days after shutting out Michigan in Ann Arbor, #4 Maryland beat the #18 Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing to move to 2-1 in Big Ten play.

Now that's more like it. Maryland came out early and established the tempo against Michigan State on Sunday afternoon. They out-shot the Spartans 12-5 in the first half en route to a 2-0 halftime lead.

After an early Spartans threat, the Terps began to ramp up the pressure and had several excellent chances to get on the board. Maxine Fluharty countered that early threat with a shot in the fifth minute. She followed with another shot in the sixth that hit the post. The Terps kept attacking and launched a flurry of shots in the tenth minute first by Carrie Hanks and then by Lein Holsboer that challenged but didn't get past Michigan State goalie Sierra Patton. In the 18th minute, the Terps picked up the first two of their five first half penalty corners but again couldn't capitalize.

It fell to Fluharty to start the scoring for the Terps late in the first half. Stading near the far post, the Delaware senior redirected a high pass from Emma Rissinger scoring with a little under six minutes left to play in the half. After mishandling the insertions on two previous penalty corners, Maryland had a last chance to convert a set play when they picked up a foul just before time expired on a strong play in the circle by Holsboer. Moira Putsch assumed the inserting duty that Anna Dessoye had handled early in the half. Sarah Sprink made the stop and scored the second goal at the end of the half for the Terps off the untimed penalty corner.

Second half

Maryland didn't let up in the second half. After Michigan State goalie Sierra Patton leveled Putsch who had worked her way behind the keeper when she came off her line, the Terps ran an interesting penalty corner variation. Rather than pushing the ball outside the circle, Dessoye played a soft slow ball to Fluharty about three yards inside the scoring circle. Since the ball must pass outside the circle before the offense can take a shot, Fluharty played it back to Dessoye who broke to the outside rather than toward the cage as inserters typically do.

Dessoye then played the ball out to Sprink who had drifted left three or four yards outside the circle. Sprink then swept the ball into the circle. Though the scorer didn't credit it, it looked to me that the ball deflected off the stick of Carrie Hanks before Fluharty knocked it home. If Hanks didn't deflect the ball then one of two nearby Startans defenders did. With a few ticks under 27 minutes to play, the Terrapins had a 3-0 lead.

Moira Putsch added Maryland's fourth goal literally a couple of minutes off the game clock later. The sequence started with a steal in the midfield. Dessoye made a long pass to Katie Gerzabek who was streaking down the left side. Gerzabek got past two MSU defenders and into the scoring circle. Putsch was then able to redirect the pass into the far corner to end the scoring for Maryland.

Trailing by four with just 25 minutes to play, the Spartans turned into a desperate team and it was all Michigan State for the last seven minutes. Michigan State's Abby Barker ended the shut-out by scoring on Maryland back-up goalie Jill Genovese with around six and half minutes left to go in the game. Jenni Smith added a goal off of an untimed penalty corner for the Spartans completing the play after time had expired but by then the result was assured and the goal academic.

With two goal and outstanding play in the midfield, Fluharty was the star of the game. However, another statistic in this game will demand attention going forward. The Terrapins were whistled for an uncharacteristic 25 fouls in this contest. That is something that Maryland head coach Missy Meharg will surely address before the Terps face a very tough home stretch with four games over the next two weeks that includes conference foe Ohio State on Friday, as well as number 19 Old Dominion and seventh ranked Penn State.