Maryland women's lacrosse advanced to its eighth consecutive national semifinals after beating UMass, 18-3, on a rain-soaked Sunday afternoon in College Park. Maryland beat UMass, 19-8, last season in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
This year's Terrapins team was even more ruthless in advancing to another Final Four, where it'll try for a third-consecutive national championship out of eight trips in a row to the Final Four. Maryland will face Syracuse in a national semifinal on Friday, with the winner drawing either North Carolina or Penn State in the final on Sunday.
UMass' third-ranked scoring offense and third-ranked scoring defense wilted in the face of the juggernaut that is Maryland's balanced offense and pressure-defense. Maryland led 4-0 within the first six minutes of the game and extended the lead to 8-0 before UMass finally got on the board. Caroline Wannen was superb behind the net on offense. She had three first half assists.
Megan Whittle dominated, scoring four first half goals after tallying four first half scores in the second round against Johns Hopkins. Caroline Steele had a first half hat trick as well, scoring a career-high four goals in the game's first 30 minutes. Steele and Whittle each finished the first half with four goals and an assist. The Terps got a running clock started in the first half and took a 13-1 lead into the half.
Zoe Stukenberg added three second half goals to give her a game-high five scores. Taylor Cummings finished with two goals, two assists, three caused turnovers and six draw controls. Maryland only faced 10 shots on goal and tied its season-low in goals allowed with three. "I'm really excited," said freshman goalie Megan Taylor. "I was screaming, "Final Four! Final Four! Final Four!"
Head coach Cathy Reese said that Maryland played one of if not its most complete games all season. "Really proud of our team's effort today. I think we played a great 60 minutes of lacrosse. We played well on both ends of the ball and did great around the draw circle. It was a really good day for the Terps."
Three things to know:
1) It was a career day for a couple of Terps
Megan Whittle set a new season-high for goals scored with 68 after scoring 67 the year before. It only took 30 minutes for Caroline Steele to establish a new career-high for goals in a game with four.
2) Maryland overwhelmed UMass from start to finish
Maryland's top-ranked scoring offense came out on fire. The Terps started 6-for-6 from the field and took an 8-0 lead. UMass' third-ranked scoring offense only managed 18 shots in the game and only put 10 of those on goal. UMass' third-ranked scoring defense had never faced a team like Maryland. The Terps spread the Minutewomen out, and Cumming and Wannen went to work dissecting the UMass defense. After Maryland had only one assist against Johns Hopkins, the Terrapins finished with seven against UMass.
3) We will be treated to Taylor Cummings-Kayla Treanor one last time
Two of the greatest players in the history of the sport will battle it out one final time in the national semifinals. Maryland and Syracuse played each other in the Final Four last year and the national championship game the year before that. Cummings, Maryland's star, and Treanor (Syracuse's) will go at it again with a spot in the final on the line.