Rutgers came into this game with a record of 1-11. Maryland came in 11-0 and ranked as the top team in the entire nation. Rutgers has had trouble against Maryland non-revenue sports in both schools' first year in the Big Ten.
Volleyball won both of their matches against Rutgers, Men's Soccer beat them twice, Women's Soccer beat them and Field Hockey beat them as well. Wrestling was the first (and so far, only) non-revenue sport to fall to the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers didn't have much of a shot today against the top-ranked Terps and this game got ugly quickly.
Taylor Cummings, the reigning Tewaaraton Award winner, was coming off of a nine point outing earlier in the week against Georgetown with four goals and five assists. She picked up right where she left off.
After Kristen Lamon's shot was stopped in the first minute, Cummings scooped up the ground ball and notched her first goal of the game just 45 seconds into the contest. Rutgers controlled the ensuing draw but Casey Pepperman forced a turnover, Megan Douty, a Tewaaraton Finalist from last year, scooped up the ground ball and Kelly McPartland scored less than 50 seconds later.
Rutgers got on the board with 26:05 left to go in the first half off of an eight meter by Lauren Sbrilli. It was the only goal that Rutgers would score in the half. Brooke Griffin answered for the Terps just over a minute later and Maryland racked up two quick goals in the next minute and a half from Cummings to make it a 5-1 game with 23:48 left in the half.
To score a hat-trick in under six and a half minutes into a game is almost unheard of yet it was just another day at the office for Taylor Cummings. Alex Fitzpatrick made a save on Halley Barnes' free-position shot to give Maryland back possession. Megan Whittle ripped a shot but Candice Dandridge saved it for Rutgers. She didn't corral it though and Cummings scooped up the loose ball and dished it to Whittle, who finished it to make it 6-1 in favor of Maryland.
Cummings upped the ante on the ensuing possession by getting the draw control, racing down the field and scoring an unassisted goal 10 seconds later. With 18:34 left in the half, Cummings now had four goals. It took Maryland almost six minutes to put up another goal but McPartland scored off of an eight meter to make it 8-1. Whittle notched her second goal of the game about 90 seconds later to make it 9-1 with 11:12 left in the first half. Erin Collins got the Terps to double digits at the 6:41 mark off of a free position. Kristina Dunphey scored with 5:07 left in the half to make it 10-2 but the game's outcome was not in doubt, even with one half still left to play.
Cummings had four goals in the first half along with an assist, three draw controls and three ground balls.
Cummings got the first draw control of the second half and it led to a goal by Megan Whittle just 75 seconds into the half. Whittle now has seven hat tricks in 12 games this season. Cummings struck again just a minute and a half later for her fifth goal of the game. Griffin added a goal with 23:39 left to play to make it 13-2. She secured a hat trick of her own as she scooped up a ground ball and scored with 18:52 left in the game.
Joanna Reilly scored for Rutgers with under 17 minutes to play to make it 14-3. The subs started to produce for Maryland as Lindsay Biondi scored a free position goal with 11:18 left in the game. Sbrilli scored again on an eight meter for Rutgers to make it 15-4 with 8:43 to play but it was clear that there was never going to be a comeback in this game. After a free position goal by Kristin Kocher made it 15-5 with under three and half minutes to play, Maryland picked up two goals from Shelby Scanlin and Taylor Hensh in the next two minutes.
Maryland was expected to win this game easily and they did. They buried Rutgers early in the first half and didn't take their foot off the gas pedal. Led by Taylor Cummings, who finished with five goals and an assist, the Terps had three players with hat tricks.
To say that Maryland peppered Dandridge in goal is like saying that habaneros are hot. Maryland put up 44 shots on Rutgers and Dandridge saved 17 of them. The Terps hustled and scooped up 24 ground balls and forced the Scarlet Knights into a laughable 18 turnovers. Maryland had just eight turnovers of their own and won the draw control battle 15-9.
The only thing that I can say that Rutgers did well is that they didn't get beaten badly in the draw control battle and that they didn't allow Zoe Stukenberg to score, although she took five shots so some of that credit goes to her sub-par shooting. I can't remember the last time that Stukenberg, last season's ACC Rookie of the Year, went scoreless in a game but I feel confident in saying that it has been a very long time.
Maryland played a dominant game on offense and defense and was rewarded with a dominant win.
This was a great bounce-back game after Maryland's pedestrian performance against Georgetown earlier in the week. Much of this game was about talent. Maryland had it and Rutgers didn't.
Taylor Cummings went off for a hat trick not even seven minutes in and Rutgers was in a 10-1 hole with under seven minutes left to play in the first half. Maryland started quickly and didn't let up. Great teams don't let weaker teams like Rutgers hang around. They step on them. They bury them. Maryland played a great game today and the Terps are a great team right now.
It is hard to see anyone beating the Terps if their defense continues to smother people like they have been and Cummings continues to produce like this offensively, in addition to the myriad of things she already does to impact the game.