For the first time since last season’s opener, Maryland women’s lacrosse played a game following a loss. After Saturday’s overtime defeat to North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the Terrapins returned home for a matchup with UMBC.
The Terps drew first blood in the game, and although the lead would only last about three minutes, they would never trail in this one. After it was all said and done, the now-No. 4 team in the country won 21-12.
Maryland’s leading goal-scorer Megan Whittle completely dominated the opposition Wednesday night, and looked as if she could single-handedly outscore the Retrievers. The senior posted seven goals, easily surpassing her season-high of four.
A three-goal night from Nikki Sliwak was a nice surprise for Cathy Reese and Co., and it seems that every game someone new steps up to complement the performances of the superstars.
UMBC controlled the ball to start, and it seemed all too familiar for Maryland when the Retrievers got a point-blank shot opportunity in the first twenty seconds. But luckily for the Terps, the ball deflected off the crossbar and landed in the stick of Jen Giles. After an injury timeout, Giles found Kacie Longo inside for her first goal of the season. It was only the second shot on the year for the senior, and she was happy to find the back of the net.
The Retrievers would tie the game rather quickly on a score from Sara Moeller, but Whittle earned herself a free-position shot to give Maryland the lead. Just two minutes later, she would extend the lead with another score. Three more Terps scored in an 84-second span to push the score to 6-1, and it was none other than Whittle to cap off a six-goal run.
The two teams would trade scores back-and-forth, and Maryland was looking for another goal before half. Sliwak got bumped inside, giving her an opportunity to convert on an eight-meter shot. She missed high, but she wouldn’t have to wait long for a chance at redemption. Jen Giles got the ball to her 22 seconds later, and Sliwak scored her second goal of the season to make the score 12-5 heading into the break.
UMBC’s Lauren McDonald tried to mount the comeback with a goal less than a minute into the second half, but Maryland called upon its leader to kill it before it could truly begin. On yet another free-position chance, Whittle got the ball past goalie Kelsey Major for her sixth goal of the night.
And if that wasn’t enough, she added her seventh to make the score 14-6 at the 25 minute mark. Neither team would go on a substantial run, and the Terps had just enough offense to keep the game out of reach as the clock winded down.
Maryland won’t have much time to rest before its next game, but that could give the Terps an easier time carrying the momentum into Saturday’s matinee against Hofstra. It’ll begin at noon ET and can be seen on BTN Plus.
Three things to know
1. Home sweet home. Maryland had won 67 straight games in College Park entering Wednesday’s game, and they kept that streak going with another dominating victory. They’ll have to learn to translate this success to neutral sites come May, but for now, it’s good to be home.
2. Megan Whittle is going to keep earning awards. She won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week a couple weeks ago, and this performance makes her a shoo-in for next week’s honor. Already on a torrid goal pace, you’ll have heard her name called often when the year is over.
3. Megan Taylor and the defense haven’t played to their potential. Although game flow is a big factor, it’s still a bit concerning that Maryland gave up 12 goals to UMBC. Taylor only stopped six shots throughout the night, lowering her save percentage even more. Entering the night, the former National Goaltender of the Year ranked tied for 86th in the category.