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Maryland women's lacrosse Terps leave Quakers on shaky ground in 12-7 win

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The middle game of Maryland's three game home stand proved little different from the first. Maryland's women's lacrosse team dominated the number 11/14 Penn Quakers in a deceptively close 12-7 win.

Courtesy Maryland Athletics - Greg Fiume

The night was cold and the sky was clear but when it came down to the play of the women's lacrosse game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Penn Quakers, it certainly wasn't pretty. The top ranked Terps sharpened their play in the second half and emerged with their eighth consecutive win a 12-7 decision over the Quakers.

First half - Shots are wild

Just as the Florida Gators scored first in last Saturday's game, the Penn Quakers put the first goal on  the board scoring on a free position shot after a Terrapins three second violation just 1:26 into the contest. The Terps needed nearly four minutes to get the equalizer.

The Terps controlled the ensuing draw but immediately turned it over. However, Alex Fitzpatrick made a big save on Nina Corcoran's shot and the Terrapins went on the attack. Maryland attacked aggressively but ran into a very hot goalie in the Quakers' Lucy Ferguson.

On their first real possession, Maryland had two free possession attempts but one went wide and Ferguson made a save on the other. Taylor Cummings scored the Terrapins' first two goals. She got the equalizer plucking a pass from Brooke Griffin who initiated the play from behind the goal. She put the Terps up 2-1 with a deke and dodge down the right alley.

After a Maryland turnover Penn tied the score on another free position generated after the Terps' second three second violation in the early going. Maryland needed just seven seconds to regain the lead. Cummings controlled a high draw and found Griffin open behind Penn's defense. The senior scored easily on a low shot past Ferguson.

However, early on Maryland was missing the shooting efficiency they had displayed against Towson and Florida. Through the first nineteen minutes of the half, the Terps were 0-6 on free position shots and had launched 15 shots watching Fergus garner seven saves in that time.

Between the stellar work between the pipes by Ferguson and solid positioning on defense, Penn frustrated Maryland's offense causing them to restart their attacks or forcing bad shots. On the other side, the Terps dominated the time of possession by both being willing to look for attacking opportunities and by riding the Quakers aggressively inside the restraining line or in the midfield inducing four Penn turnovers.

Maryland broke their long scoring drought with 6:39 to play in the half. The score came courtesy of a superior one on one effort by freshman Megan Whittle. Making a strong dodge down the left side shaking her defender and sending the ball high inside the far post. The freshman added a fifth goal with 2:17 to play in the half after another Penn turnover.

The Terps finished the half with a 22-6 edge in shots, a 7-1 advantage on the draw, committed only five fouls to Penn's 15 and had two fewer turnovers. On the scoreboard, though, Maryland held only a slim 5-2 lead as the team went to the break.

"We didn't shoot well," mastering the art of understatement, Maryland coach Cathy Reese said after the game. "Any time we're under 50 percent on our shooting percentage we're not happy with our shooting percentage. We were missing the cage because the goalie was so active and hit her a fair bit as well. And when you generate 10 shots in an offensive possession and don't put the ball in the net of course there's going to be a little bit of frustration."

Second half - Draw Domination and better shooting

Just 1:54 into the second half, Whittle made a dodge that looked very much like the one on which she had scored her first goal. The drive was successful again and Maryland led 6-2. The Terps scored a fifth straight goal when Griffin found herself in the right  spot at the right time.

Cummings triggered the play with a pass across the eight meter to Whittle. A Penn defender checked the ball out of Whittle's crosse and the ball went directly to Griffin in space at the left side of the crease. The goal gave Maryland an 7-2 lead.

Ferguson's ninth save set Penn's offense in motion Penn scored quickly pulling within four. However, with Cummings still dominating the draw, the Terps responded with two more quick goals. The first came when Cummings connected for the first time in nine free position attempts for the Terps. Less than two minutes later, Griffin was the beneficiary of a pinpoint pass from Kelly McPartland and Maryland led 9-3.

Penn finally controlled a draw after losing 13 of 15 and their top scorer Cory Benson was able to beat Megan Douty one on one with a dodge that started outside the 12 meter and the Quakers were within five at 9-4. That didn't last long as a Cummings dodge drew not two but three Penn defenders.

The ever alert Griffin circled to the right post and Whittle drew the lone remaining defender by sliding further right. Griffin, who seems to be good for one highlight reel goal a game flicked the ball across her body without turning toward the goal and caught Ferguson helplessly flatfooted.

Maryland continued to amp up the pressure as Zoe Stukenberg scored her 10th goal of the season on a stutter step dodge from the left. Whittle added a 12th goal to the Terps' total and a fourth to her night's work. With 11:54 remaining, Maryland led 12-4.

Following a long Penn possession, the Quakers' Lindsey Smith found some space between three Maryland defenders and put a top shelf shot past Fitzpatrick. Reese opted to use some of her reserves. " With about 15 minutes left and wanted to get some other people some playing time and some experience. It's part of the learning process and developing our depth," Reese said. The Quakers used that as their opportunity to continue their scoring run. First Iris Williamson the Nina Corcoran added two more goals to Penn's total.

When the Terps won the ensuing draw with just over three minutes to play, Reese was content to have her offense spread the field and drain the clock as the Terps dropped the Quakers to 6-1 on their season with the 12-7 win.

Whittle and Cummings led Maryland with four goals each. Cummings added three plus two assists 11 draw controls and at least two caused turnovers. The Terps, now 8-0 on the season conclude their home stand Saturday when they host the 12th ranked James Madison Dukes.