Maryland women’s lacrosse traveled up to Princeton on Tuesday fresh off the heels of a senior day demolition of Rutgers, giving the Terrapins 10 straight wins following their sole loss to North Carolina.
For nearly the entire game, it seemed as though the streak would end. However, after overcoming a four-goal deficit in the second half, Maryland was able to escape with an 11-10 victory.
As if there was any doubt, Megan Whittle tied Jen Adams’ program scoring record. The senior’s hat trick has the two of them tied up at 267 career goals. She’ll have a chance to break the record this weekend. Caroline Steele had a hat trick of her own, continuing to be a vital piece of this Terrapins attack.
Maryland struck first in Tuesday’s contest thanks to Whittle, who capitalized on the team’s first free-position opportunity of the game. That gave the Terps a 1-0 lead, one they would hold for just 72 seconds. Princeton tied the game thanks to Elizabeth George, and Ellie McNulty followed suit less than two minutes later. Although Whittle tied the score at the 21:12 mark with another goal, the Tigers retook the lead barely a minute later. This time it was Allie Rogers on the free-position line, pushing the score to 3-2.
Kyla Sears’ goal extended the lead to two, and Elizabeth George scored her second of the game to put Princeton up three. Caroline Steele stopped the run with an acrobatic finish at the net, but the Tigers wouldn’t lay down. Two goals in a 38-second span made Princeton’s lead a whopping four goals, making it the largest deficit the Terrapins have faced all season.
Jen Giles got Maryland back on the board with over seven minutes to go. And while neither team got one past the goalie for the rest of the half, the turning point of the contest came with under a minute to go. Sears, Princeton’s leading point-scorer with 46 coming into Tuesday, received her second yellow card, disqualifying her for the remainder of the game. Her absence would greatly affect the Tigers’ offense in the second half.
But despite the loss, Princeton stayed composed on both sides of the field. The defense was terrific, forcing Maryland into a turnover time and time again. They were able to keep the Terps off the board for an astounding 14 minutes to begin the half, and the lead was getting harder to overcome with every passing minute. Along the way, Taylor Hensh was called for a yellow card, giving Princeton a man-up advantage over Maryland. They wouldn’t squander the opportunity, as McNulty extended the lead back to four.
Enter Whittle. The senior captain dove towards the cage, sliding all the way to the crease and completing the hat trick. She had just tied Adams, but there was no time to celebrate the moment. The team was still down three.
It took only 50 seconds for Whittle to get help. One of the Terps’ other captains, junior Caroline Steele, took over with a goal of her own. Now only down two, it was time for the defense to step up. The ball was in Princeton’s possession for nearly three minutes straight, and the Tigers had a trio of looks on cage.
All three were stopped, and after a foul inside Steele had another chance to make a difference. On the eight-meter line, the lefty ripped one by Sam Fish to cut the deficit to just one. Kathryn Hallett put Princeton back on the board, but was quickly answered by the freshman Grace Griffin. With 10 minutes to go, it was just a one-score game.
In a day that was headlined by a senior’s accomplishment, it was a freshman that proved to be crucial. Less than two minutes after cutting Princeton’s lead to just one, Griffin tied the game by finishing at the cage.
No goals were scored for almost five minutes when the whistle was blown once again. For the tenth time of the game, Maryland was given a free-position opportunity. And this time around, it was Hensh who converted, giving the Terrapins their first lead since the 27:03 mark in the first half.
Unfortunately for Maryland, that wouldn’t be the deciding goal. With only 92 seconds remaining in the game, George snuck one past Megan Taylor to tie things up.
Overtime was nearly in sight when Hensh forced her way inside and a whistle was blown. After the referees conferred and agreed on a call, she was given another eight-meter look. And she came up in the clutch when the Terps needed it, scoring the game-winning goal with 45 seconds left.
Three things to know
1. It was a terrific comeback. They faced their biggest deficit of the season on two separate occasions, but it wasn’t enough to keep Maryland down. It’s certainly not a position they’ll want to be in going forward, but they did enough to walk away with a win this time around.
2. Megan Whittle tied the scoring record. The win is obviously the most important part of the night, but Whittle had every opportunity to break the record that has become the talk of the town in lacrosse circles. She is now the co-leader, and the record will have to wait until Sunday, when the Terps visit Ohio State.
3. Megan Taylor was great. Giving up 10 goals wasn’t the plan, but the junior delivered 12 saves to keep the Terps within reach while the offense sputtered. She was especially dominant in the second half, silencing Princeton to the tune of just three goals in the final 30 minutes of play.