Maryland women’s lacrosse’s top-10 showdown against Penn was postponed and moved to Thursday due to the snowstorm that rocked the Northeast. The delay didn’t seem to faze the No. 4 Terps—if anything, the extra rest allowed them to come out firing and completely dominate the No. 7 Quakers, winning 13-7.
Megan Whittle and Jen Giles led the offense with four and three goals, respectively. The two captains seem to go above and beyond that title to consistently carry the team on their shoulders. Caroline Steele also kept her hot streak going with yet another multi-goal game, contributing three goals of her own to the offensive barrage.
And while the offense was clicking, the best performance of the day came from within the cage. Megan Taylor, last year’s National Goaltender of the Year, has struggled to begin the 2018 campaign, but over the last few weeks, the junior has raised her level of play drastically. She had her best game of the season Thursday, with 13 saves against just seven goals allowed for a .650 save percentage.
Although Penn controlled the opening draw and had a shot opportunity early, a steal by the Terps paved the way for Giles to put her team on the board less than two minutes into the game. From then on, it was a completely dominating twenty minutes by the No. 4 team in the nation. Headlined by Giles and Whittle, Maryland scored the first five goals of the contest, something that is becoming very familiar for this team.
The Quakers finally got on the board thanks to a goal by standout freshman Zoe Belodeau, but Steele scored her second to extend the lead back to five. With that goal, Maryland had three multi-goal scorers less than 20 minutes into the game.
Penn’s two stars wouldn’t let the game get out of hand too early. Immediately after the draw control following Steele’s goal, Gabby Rosenzweig put a diving shot past Taylor for the team’s second score of the game. Less than a minute later, Belodeau got on the board again to cut the deficit to three. After a five-minute stalemate that saw neither team get a chance on cage, Erin Barry earned a free-position opportunity. She wouldn’t squander it, as the game was suddenly 6-4 five minutes before halftime.
But Brindi Griffin got her name in the box score with a goal with just over a minute left, and Giles scored for the third time in the game to close out the first half with a four-goal advantage.
The second half started just as the first had, as Maryland continuously added to its already sizable advantage. To no one’s surprise, Whittle opened up the scoring with her 32nd goal of the year, tying the game high and increasing her season lead. Meghan Siverson and Kali Hartshorn piled on to raise the lead to seven goals, and then Whittle ripped one by Penn goalie Mikaila Cheeseman to effectively ice the game. The teams traded goals late, but by that point the deficit was too much for Penn to overcome.
Maryland will be home for the first time in three weeks for its next game against James Madison, but it won’t have much time to prepare. The Terps will face off with the No. 3 Dukes at noon ET Saturday at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex. The game can be seen on BTN Plus.
Three things to know
1. The offense still needs work. Although the Terps easily took care of another top program, they still struggled mightily with working for good looks. As a team, they took 37 shots (27 of which were on cage) and only put 13 in the back of the net. It hasn’t come back to bite them yet, but at a certain point they’ll have to be more efficient on offense consistently.
2. The snow day helped. For a team that played on Saturday, the Terrapins seemed as refreshed as ever in their latest win. With the game pushed from Wednesday to Thursday, an extra day of rest certainly helped to keep the players fresh and ready to go.
3. But they won’t have that benefit next time out. James Madison is rolling into town Saturday morning, giving Maryland less than two days in between games. It’s the first time the team has had to play under such conditions, but it will be good practice for the postseason. Only time will tell how the Terps are affected by the condensed schedule.