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Maryland WLAX roughs up UMBC at home, 14-7

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The Terps stayed perfect all-time against the Retrievers on a cold, foggy and rainy Wednesday night in College Park.

Stormy Weather

It was announced earlier in the day that the University of Maryland would be closed Thursday. The weather was very bad. It was cold and rainy and fog covered the campus. Playing under the lights took away some of the issue of the fog, but the teams still had to contend with the slick turf. Maryland beat UMBC in its season opener last year by a big margin, 14-3. The Terps have never lost to the Retrievers and held a 9-0 lead all-time going into the game.

It's a Celebration!

The Maryland state legislature declared today, March 4, to be a state holiday. Who was honored you might ask? Why, none other than the great Gary Williams! It was his 70th birthday. It is also the start of the Jewish holiday of Purim. And, if that wasn't enough to get excited about, my 23rd birthday is tomorrow!

Oh Captain, My Captain!

One of the few seniors that graduated from last year's national championship squad, Beth Glaros returned to College Park for the game. The former Maryland captain and second-team All-American made her broadcasting debut as a color commentator alongside Terps TV and WMUC Sports broadcasting legend Brian Kapur.

First Half

Megan Whittle continued her torrid scoring run by notching the game's first goal just 38 seconds into the contest. It was her ninth of the young season and she has scored at least two goals in every game she has played. Zoe Stukenberg got her sixth goal of the year a couple of minutes later off a beautiful feed from Brooke Griffin. It was 2-0 Maryland early.

Stukenberg added another goal when Taylor Cummings pushed the fast break. She turned around and fired a pass into the middle for Stukenberg and Stukenberg finished top shelf for her second goal of the game. In only four minutes and 18 seconds, UMBC was down 3-0 and took a timeout. Last year's ACC Rookie of the Year failed to score against Hofstra but had no such problem early on against UMBC.

Erin Collins had a one-on-one with the goalie around the 22 minute mark of the first half after she scooped up a ground ball in the UMBC third but she missed wide. About 49 seconds later, Kristen Lamon, one of Maryland's best weapons off the bench, scored off of a feed from Griffin. At 5'9'', Lamon is a match-up nightmare, much like Beth Glaros was for her four years as a Maryland midfielder.

UMBC finally got on the board with 19:15 to go in the first half as Carolyn Jamison scored off of an eight meter. Cummings answered less than a minute later for the Terps. Lamon added an assist to her earlier goal. Abby Wilson scored her team-leading 13th goal for UMBC and Maryland's Shanna Brady was injured on the play. She walked off the field with a slight limp but did so under her own power.

Cummings scored from pretty far out with a little more than 10 minutes left in the half after she caught the keeper napping on the right side of the goal. She went low to the left for her second goal of the game and her 11th of the season. Cummings scored about half a minute later on a feed from Kelly McPartland to snag the hat-trick. She has now scored hat-tricks in three of her four games this season. It only took her 20:29 to get it.

Not to be outdone, Stukenberg got a hat-trick of her own 18 seconds later. Bryn Boucher then found Griffin on the left side of the goal and she one-timed it for her fifth goal of the year. Maryland had already subbed in Emily Kift for Alex Fitzpatrick in goal and head coach Cathy Reese started to empty her bench. UMBC had the last chance for a goal in the half but it couldn't get a shot off and both teams went in for recess with Maryland up 9-2.

Maryland outshot UMBC by an absurd amount in the first half, 30-5. They led 10-2 in draw controls and UMBC had seven turnovers. Kelsey Major was game for the Retrievers and she had nine saves and only allowed nine goals. In my five years of covering Maryland women's lacrosse, I have never seen Maryland put up 30 shots in a half and three of those teams made the NCAA finals.

Second Half

Whittle started the scoring in the first half and she kicked off the scoring in the second half as well. Lamon recorded her second assist at the 25:30 mark as she passed it off to Whittle, who notched her third straight hat-trick of the season. Stukenberg had to go high to grab a pass from Griffin but fired a rocket past Major for her fourth goal of the game. Caitlin Miller then cut the deficit to nine for UMBC, which caused the running clock to stop. The highly touted freshman goalie Emma Moss took over in goal for Kift so that she could get some valuable game experience.

Amber Kovalick scored her first goal of the season for UMBC to make it 12-4 and Cathy Reese brought Stukenberg, Cummings and a couple of other major contributors back into the game. Moss gave up her second goal of the game as Kalyn Crocetti scored her first goal of the season for the Retrievers. Taylor Salandra stopped the 3-0 UMBC run with a goal with just less than 13 minutes left to go in the game. Cummings made it four goals for the game with a free position goal with just less than 10 to play to push the lead to nine.

Moss came up big, making two saves on free position attempts within 30 seconds of each other. She stepped up again and got another save to thwart a UMBC possession with under five minutes to play. Abby Wilson scored with 2:32 left to make it 14-6 but it was too little, too late for the Retrievers. Marissa Davey tacked on a garbage time goal with two seconds left to make it 14-7 and the buzzer sounded soon afterwards.

Recap

The announced crowd of 387 was drenched. It was raining cats and dogs on Wednesday night, or more specifically, retrievers. Cummings and Stukenberg each scored four goals against UMBC in Maryland's 14-3 win last year. They each scored four goals in this year's game as well. Whittle chipped in with her third hat-trick in four games. Cummings had a game-high five points with four goals and an assist. She also had eight draw controls while Stukenberg was super-efficient, scoring her four goals on four shots.

Maryland (4-0) didn't dominate in the second half the way they had in the first. Cummings admitted the team let up in the second half, "We stepped off the pedal a little. For our upcoming games we can't do that. We have to refocus and play Maryland lacrosse for 60 minutes." Maryland had a 43-21 advantage in shots but got out-shot 16-13 in the second half. The Terps dominated on draw controls, overwhelming the Retrievers, 17-5.

Kelsey Major stepped up in a major way for UMBC, collecting 17 saves and helping to hold Maryland to 14 goals on 43 shots. That is a shooting percentage of 32.5 percent. "Their goalie was on fire", Reese said after the game. Reese was pleased that her team kept the ball moving but said there was no excuse for the poor shooting. The Terps took care of the ball, only turning it over six times.

Stukenberg said that the team put in some new plays that set her up for success offensively. She said that the high volume shooting is Maryland's bread and butter but conceded, "We were taking good shots...We'll work on seeing the net instead of just firing but I'm glad we're getting those big offensive numbers." She added, "We definitely peppered the goalie...We could have done a better job of shooting a step or two earlier. We kind of took away our own angle." Stukenberg finished by saying that this team can play in any weather but noted that Cathy always says, "Turtles love the rain."

Bottom Line

This game was the tune-up. Saturday is the show-down. Syracuse was ranked second in the country but fell to sixth-ranked Boston College last weekend, 10-9. This will be a rematch of the national championship game from last year where Maryland defeated Syracuse, 15-12. An interesting story-line within the game itself will be former Terp Halle Majorana. She now plays for the Orange after transferring to Syracuse after last season and will return to College Park for the first time to play her former team.

A match-up of top-five teams and a rematch of last year's national championship. It should be a fun one to watch.