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Maryland women's lacrosse - Terps race out early and hold on against JMU

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Maryland rides four goals by Zoe Stukenberg, yet another hat trick by Megan Whittle and dominance on the draw byTaylor Cummings to a 14-10 win over 15th ranked James Madison.

The James Madison Dukes hung with the number one ranked Maryland Terrapins women's lacrosse team early and outplayed them late but were unable to overcome a devastating seven goal run over the last 18 minutes of the first half and the first 2 minutes of the second half of Maryland's 14-10 win. The Terps improve to 9-0 on the season as they prepare to open Big Ten play at Northwestern Thursday.

First half - Finishing with a flourish

For the third consecutive game, Maryland fell behind in the opening minutes as Dukes' goalie Schylar Healy made the first of her 12 saves on the day picking up Brooke Griffin's low shot. JMU cleared and  after a bit of an extended possession scored on a free position.

Taylor Cummings controlled the draw for the second consecutive time and during the Terps' possession made the mistake of sliding a defender off Cummings to double team Kelly McPartland. The senior co-captain promptly found Cummings who dodged straight through the middle of Madison's defense to find the net for her 27th goal of the season. The pair connected again just 45 seconds later to give the Terrapins a lead they would never relinquish.

After JMU picked up the ball on a wide Maryland shot, Terps goalie Alex Fitzpatrick notched her first save of the day and defender Megan Douty outraced the Dukes' defense on the clear. She then hit Megan Whittle in stride and the freshman finished the play for the first of her three goals for the game.

James Madison scored an easy second goal when Erin Collins was whistled for a foul on the ensuing draw. Madison's Betsy Angel was all alone inside the 12 meter behind Maryland's defense. She took the pass on the restart and easily put the ball into the cage. The Dukes wouldn't score for the rest of the half.

At the start it didn't look like Maryland would embark on an eight goal run when Healy stopped Whittled free position attempt but Fitzpatrick was equally good on the other end picking up her second save. The save led to a Terrapins fast break with Zoe Stukenberg on the goal scoring end.

The Terps needed a few minutes to get rolling but once they did they ran off three goals in a span of 2:04 of game time. The net finders were Griffin and Stukenberg twice. McPartland wrapped up the first half scoring with 6:35 to play and Maryland led 8-2 at the break.

Second half - Game experience for the reserves

Maryland needed exactly 10 seconds to score in the second half. Cummings controlled the draw and made the pass to McPartland who put the ball in the cage. Collins picked up the ball in the ensuing draw and 1:41 later the Terps led 10-2 courtesy of Megan Whittle.

Madison finally ended their drought on a goal by Jaci Gordon. Maryland then went bing, bang, boom again. From the time JMU scored their third goal the Terps needed just 4:06 to string together three more goals and go up by a 13-3 score. In this instance the trio of scorers was Collins, Stukenberg and Whittle.

JMU called timeout before the running clock started and when Healy made a save on a shot by Collins, the Dukes began a furious rally as Maryland coach Cathy Reese went deep into her bench. Emily Kift saw her first action in several games and Madison went to work on the sophomore. Over a seven minute span, the Dukes strung together five straight scores to turn an apparent 13-3 Maryland romp into a competitive game.

Brooke Griffin's goal with 8:51 left stopped the hemorrhaging and put Maryland up by six. JMU added two more late goals to make things a bit less comfortable for the Terrapins. When Kift made a big save on Gordon's free position, Douty picked up the rebound and the Terps ran out the clock to secure their ninth consecutive win to open the season.

The Terps return to action Thursday night when they travel to Northwestern to take on the Wildcats in Maryland first conference game as a member of the Big Ten. The draw is set for 7:00 pm and the game will be broadcast on BTN.