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No. 10 Maryland women’s lacrosse defeats No. 24 Penn, 16-12

The Terps scored seven unanswered second-half goals to put the game away.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics
Twitter @MarylandWLax

With the score 12-10, No. 10 Maryland women’s lacrosse had a chance to close out the game.

Junior attacker Chrissy Thomas, who had just four goals in the previous 10 games, delivered. She scored twice in a row and provided the spark that Maryland desperately needed after capitalizing just once in the third quarter. Her heroics led to the Terps’ fifth straight, as they took down No. 24 Penn by a final score of 16-12.

“I trusted my teammates,” Thomas said. “Eloise (Clevenger) was really good at seeing feeds. And she saw me and it was open.”

In its next match, Maryland will play No. 16 Princeton on March 29 at 8 p.m.

Penn kicked off the action by winning the opening draw control. Right away, the Quaker offense settled in, and after isolating at the 12-meter fan, midfielder Anna Brandt beat Maryland redshirt freshman defender Kennedy Major for the score.

Immediately after, senior midfielder Shaylan Ahearn won the draw control and the Maryland offense went to work. After passing the ball around the perimeter for a good chunk of the shot clock, midfielder sophomore Jordyn Lipkin rang a shot off the post.

A free position was awarded on the recovery, but no score occurred. It was only on the ensuing possession that freshman midfielder and rising star Kori Edmondson secured Maryland’s first goal. She did so on a nifty turn-around move within the eight-meter arc, displaying her shooting acumen. The goal improved her scoring streak to seven games.

Maryland got the next goal, too, as attacker Eloise Clevenger snaked around from her position behind the net and stuffed it in the corner. Lately, she has been more aggressive in her attempts to charge the cage.

Penn struck back, capitalizing on a woman-up opportunity. However, Maryland was once again quick to respond, with Thomas netting her fifth of the season on a low shot. She notched her second of the game about three minutes later.

Overall, in the first frame, Maryland’s offense made a good effort to tire out the Quaker defense by utilizing its quick ball movement and overall speed. At times it was unsuccessful, due in part to great saves from Penn’s netminder Kelly Van Hoesen and the Quaker defense collapsing within the 12-meter fan and shutting down cutting opportunities.

Brandt started the second frame for Penn with a goal, her third of the game. On the subsequent draw control, Ahearn collided with teammate Abby Bosco, a former Quaker, and had to be helped off before returning to the action for the very next draw control.

With the score knotted up at five with 13 minutes left in the first half, the Terps went on a woman-up advantage. There, they illustrated their patience and composure, working to find the open player. Soon enough, Edmondson found the back of the net from her patented scoring spot just left of the net.

Just seconds later, Clevenger imitated her first goal and added on to the scoring run for the Terps. Her ability to work in tight spaces around the cage has been a welcome sight for Maryland’s offense, and has added to it another dimension.

Ultimately, the second quarter was a back-and-forth battle, with both Maryland and Penn going on scoring runs. The Terps’ speed and individual scorers were the key to their success, but Van Hoesen and the occasional breakdown on defense stopped them from being able to ever pull away.

At the end of the first half, Maryland led 9-8.

The first portion of the third quarter was scoreless, with some great defense and goaltending happening from both squads. Maryland had a few fast-break opportunities that were shut down by Penn’s defense, which converged nicely and communicated well.

Penn opened the scoring about six minutes in, with Brandt potting her fourth goal of the match. Three minutes later, attacker Niki Miles followed suit and put Penn in the lead, 10-9. Maryland’s defense simply did not appear to have the same amount of aggression that it had in multiple games before.

The third quarter was a defensive battle and highlighted some of Maryland’s inconsistencies that had disappeared for quite a few games.

To start the fourth quarter, Maryland scored two quick goals, one of which came from Thomas, who completed her second hat trick of the season.

“She’s really kind of stepped up as the season’s gone on,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “I love her growth...because she’s become more confident. We’re seeing her not just be able to feed the ball but score, too.”

As the quarter continued, the Terps’ impressed with their ability to bounce back. After scoring just once in the previous quarter, both Maryland’s offense and defense shined bright. The Terrapins offense scored six unanswered, and they were able to run out a chunk of clock en route to their eighth win of the season.

“I love the mental toughness of our players out there,” Reese said. “We could have tried to go individual and deviate from the game plan. But instead, we pulled through ... we ran away with a 7-0 run.”

Three things to know

1. Maryland’s defense cooled off. Wednesday, the Terps broke their streak of six straight games without allowing their opposition to score more than eight goals. The combination of great isolation scoring, skillful shooting and the defense occasionally not switching fast enough was the reason for the elevated scoreline.

However, the defense did not play terribly by any means. It allowed just 30 shots, with 23 of them being on goal. But the defense only forced eight Penn turnovers, typically one of Maryland’s strongsuits.

“I’m really proud of our defense for being patient and clicking,” Bosco said. “When we stick to our game plan and execute it and all work as a unit, you can really tell.”

2. Lapses on offense. The Terps started off strong, scoring nine goals before halftime and moving around with urgency. Typical scorers like Edmondson found the back of the net while goals from Thomas and Clevenger showed off the dynamism of the attack.

However, the Terps only scored once in the third quarter. This was in large part due to some amazing saves from Van Hoesen, who had a career game, but due to some sloppy passing, too.

“We started to get a lot of good looks, but we weren’t finishing,” Reese said. “Their goalie had some great saves ... and Penn’s defense limited us quite a bit.”

However, the fourth quarter proved that the third frame was an anomaly, as the Terps scored six unanswered to start the frame and ended up winning decisively.

3. Draw control dominance. By now it’s no surprise, but the Terps won the draw control battle once more — and they did so convincingly, winning it 23-9. What’s even more noteworthy is the fact that they allowed the Quakers to win just three draw controls in the entirety of the second half.

This should give Maryland fans some solace in knowing that even if the offense is struggling, the Terps will continue to be supplied with ample opportunities to score.

“It really starts with Shay (Ahearn) there in the middle and I just have so much trust in her,” Bosco said. “You just have to go 100 percent and fight for every loose ball in there.”