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Megan Taylor’s career performance propels Maryland women’s lacrosse to 18-8 win over No. 3 Florida

Four Terps hat tricks and a strong second half lead the way to a victory.

NCAA Lacrosse: Women's Semi Final-Maryland vs Syracuse Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Entering Wednesday’s contest in College Park, No. 3 Florida averaged 16.67 goals per game. But Maryland’s strong defense stopped the red-hot Gators, holding them to single-digit goals for the first time this year. The Terps emerged with an 18-8 victory over Florida.

After posting a sub-.500 save percentage last time out, goalie Megan Taylor bounced back in a big way. She recorded 15 saves in the first half alone and finished the game with 20 saves, a new career high.

Florida played an incredibly physical game but failed to derail the Terps’ offense. The Gators finished the day with 55 total fouls and nine yellow cards to Maryland’s 19 fouls and zero yellow cards.

Maryland’s offense included four separate hat tricks, lead by Zoe Stukenberg’s five total goals. Megan Whittle, Caroline Steele and Brindi Griffin each added three goals, while Taylor Hensh and Jen Giles scored two each.

Whittle had a rough start to the afternoon, getting fouled twice and hitting three posts in the first ten minutes. However, like the rest of her team, she kept her composure and finished the day strong.

Brindi Griffin’s first career hat trick late in the second half matched her season total in goals. Griffin developed slowly this season, but today she showed why she was a top five recruit.

The key to the game for the Terps was their victory in the draw control battle. Maryland had 19 controls to Florida’s nine despite the Gators being a top-10 draw control team in the country. Maryland’s biggest issue this year has been in this area, but each game the team continues to improve at it.

Maryland’s second half was strong, doubling their goal total from the first half with both a three-goal and a four-goal run. The Terps also held top Florida attacker Mollie Stevens to zero goals; she had averaged over three per game this season.

Maryland next faces Michigan at home Saturday afternoon.

Three Things to Know

  1. Kali Hartshorn was tremendous. She didn’t score any points, but Hartshorn’s presence during draws and in the middle made a huge presence. She finished the game with four draw controls, and continues to impress as the only freshman starter.
  2. Maryland kept their composure. Florida tried to get Maryland off their game with physical play, but the Terps weren’t bothered. Instead, they flipped the script and got Florida rattled with their discipline. For a team that hasn’t seen this much physicality all season, it was impressive.
  3. The Terps keep dominating the best. Maryland has now defeated three top-five teams this year, outscoring the opponent 48-25 in these games. There is no doubt the Terps have earned their No. 1 ranking.