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NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament 2017: Maryland crushes Penn State, 20-10, to reach national title game

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The Terps had no problems in the semifinal.

NCAA Lacrosse: Women's Championships Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

After having to come from behind last week against Stony Brook, Maryland women’s lacrosse cruised past Penn State in the Final Four, 20-10. The Terps will play in their fifth straight National Championship game on Sunday.

Maryland spread the wealth as it usually does, as seven different Terps scored in this game. Jen Giles, Taylor Hensh and Kali Hartshorn led the way with four goals each, as Giles also got four assists. Megan Whittle and Zoe Stukenberg were also forces, both scoring a hat trick. Brindi Griffin and Caroline Wannen also scored on the day.

Megan Taylor returned to form in goal after struggling against Stony Brook. She finished the game with 10 saves on 20 shots, outplaying counterpart Cat Rainone, who allowed 20 goals on 28 shots.

Maryland easily won the draw control battle 22-10, a key to the Terps’ victory. Hartshorn outplayed Penn State’s Madison Carter, winning controls 9-7 despite entering with 30 less controls on the year. Penn State also out-fouled Maryland 39-14, and the Terps converted over half of its total shots.

Maryland came out strong in the first half, getting out to a quick 4-1 lead. Thanks to multi-goal halves by Hartshorn, Stukenberg, Hensh, Giles and Whittle and another score from Caroline Wannen, the Terps went into the half up 11-5. In these teams’ last meeting, the halftime score was 6-6.

Maryland won each of the first seven draws and held Penn State without a control in the first ten minutes, which allowed the Terps to take control early. They would never lose it.

The second half began the same way the first half ended. Jen Giles opened the half with two straight goals, and Penn State struggled to figure out the Terps’ tight defense. With halftime in between, Penn State went 14 minutes between scoring its fifth and sixth goals. Taylor and the Maryland defense didn’t give the Nittany Lions any room with which to work, and Maryland ended the game on a 6-2 run.

Maryland will play the winner of Friday’s Boston College-Navy semifinal on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET for the national championship.

Three Things to Know

  1. Maryland’s defense dominated. The Terps held Madison Carter, Steph Lazo and Katie O’Donnell to six total goals after the trio scored 13 last meeting. Nadine Hadnagy and company made life difficult for Lazo, the Big Ten Attacker of the year, and Carter, the Nittany Lions’ most prolific scorer, as those two specifically only scored once each.
  2. Alex McKay missed her third straight game. The Terps’ defender has yet to play in an NCAA Tournament game this year, but the defense held strong without her. Midfielder Lizzie Colson started in place of McKay, but Marissa Donoghue received most of McKay’s defensive minutes.
  3. Sunday marks a chance for redemption. After failing to complete the undefeated season last year, the Terps have another chance on Sunday. Regardless of who wins the second semifinal, and unlike North Carolina last year, Maryland will face an unseeded and relatively inexperienced team playing in its first national championship.