In what turned out to be a battle for Maryland women’s lacrosse against Princeton earlier this week, Megan Whittle only scored three goals. Her season average entering the game was nearly four, but she couldn’t quite get to that mark on Tuesday.
The Terrapins won the game (despite a large second-half deficit), and Whittle entered Sunday tied with Jen Adams, to whom she has looked up her entire life, for the program lead in career goals scored. They were deadlocked at 267 goals apiece, but with three regular season games and the entire postseason remaining, it wasn’t a matter of if the record would be broken, but simply when it would happen. And sure enough, it came in the very next game on Sunday against Ohio State.
At the 24:24 mark of the first half, Whittle was given a free-position opportunity. Throughout her four years at Maryland, she has established herself among the elite in that area. It’s become her trademark, as she’s tied for most goals scored in the nation from the eight-meter line.
And with the record up for grabs, she didn’t falter. Fighting through contact and displaying her toughness, Whittle whipped one past the goalie to become Maryland’s all-time leader in goals scored.
Having barely survived their second loss of the season in New Jersey, Maryland women’s lacrosse didn’t let this one stay close. On the road in Columbus, the Terps dominated on the way to a 20-5 victory.
Whittle will garner the most attention for Sunday’s win, and deservedly so, but the best performance of the game came from Caroline Steele. The junior had arguably her most complete game of the season with five goals and two assists, leading the Terps’ box score by a wide margin.
The first three goals of the game were scored by the team’s leaders in that category this season. It took less than three minutes for Maryland to get on the board when Jen Giles opened up the scoring. Whittle followed that up with her historic free-position shot, and then Steele made the score 3-0.
Two straight from the Buckeyes in less than two minutes cut Maryland’s lead to just one goal, but the Terps then went on an incredible run. Thanks to efficient offense and tremendous defense, the next seven goals of the game were scored by the eventual victors.
Throughout the 10-minute span, four Terps completed multi-goal games in just the first half. Steele kicked things off and was immediately followed up by back-to-back goals from Meghan Siverson. Steele and Giles continued the run to make the score 8-2, and Kali Hartshorn scored twice in less than a minute to stretch the lead to eight.
A couple Ohio State goals surrounded Jen Giles’ hat trick, and the teams went into the halftime break with Maryland leading 11-4. Liza Hernandez, easily the best player for the Buckeyes on Sunday, opened up the second half with a goal less than two minutes in, but after that point it was all Maryland.
Steele scored her fourth goal of the game with 25 minutes to go, and two straight from Hartshorn pushed the score to 14-5. Whittle then converted from the eight-meter line for a second time to make the lead a whopping 10 goals and institute a running clock.
The weather was a factor all game, but the rain started to pour violently for the final minutes of the blowout. That didn’t stop Maryland’s offense from dominating though as the rout continued.
Contributions came from all over to end the second half, and by the time the final whistle blew, five Terrapins had multi-goal efforts. Freshman Kylie Davis scored with 4:29 remaining, and the result was a 20-5 lead that would hold the rest of the way.
Maryland will travel back to College Park for its next game against No. 14 Penn State. Thursday’s matchup is slated to start at 7 p.m. ET and will be televised on Big Ten Network.
Three things to know
1. Whittle is the best goal-scorer in program history. And she’s one of the best players to ever walk this campus. Her resume speaks for itself, and when it’s all said and done, Whittle’s name will be well-represented in Maryland’s record books. The only thing left to do is to bring home another national championship.
2. Steele and Hartshorn showed out. The former has been contributing all season long, but Hartshorn has really come together over the past few weeks and has proven to be an X-factor for Maryland. Combined, the two poured in nine goals and two assists to help eviscerate Ohio State.
3. Megan Taylor dominated. It certainly helped that Maryland’s offense had a clear edge in time of possession, but the junior played terrifically nonetheless. With six saves to just five goals allowed—a .545 percentage—the reigning National Goaltender of the Year played to that level once again against the Buckeyes.