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Maryland women’s lacrosse tops No. 10 Virginia, 15-8

The Terps took out another top-tier opponent.

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

Maryland women’s lacrosse hadn’t lost at home since 2012, and it had defeated Virginia 12 straight times dating back all the way to 2008. That didn’t change at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse complex on Wednesday night against the No. 10 team in the nation.

In a game that featured wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour and was cold to boot, the offenses were held quiet all night. But despite some tough play from the Cavaliers, the Terps were able to hang on for a 15-8 victory.

The star of the game was Megan Whittle with five goals. It wasn’t her highest scoring output of the season, but it may have been one of her best, as she scored precisely when Maryland needed it most. She did receive help from a number of Terps, including three who put together multi-goal efforts. Kali Hartshorn continued her strong play with four goals, and Jen Giles and Brindi Griffin added two apiece.

Whittle started the game with a goal just 67 seconds into it. Virginia’s Kasey Behr responded with a score less than a minute later, but that flurry of goals would halt just as soon as it started. Neither team scored for almost 14 minutes, until Whittle added her second of the game.

All that inactivity gave way to an offensive showcase by both teams. Within a six-minute span, eight goals were scored combined between them. Joining Whittle among the multi-goal scorers was Griffin, who continues to be invaluable in her position behind the net on offense.

Once a goal from Chloe Jones cut the score to 6-4 with Maryland leading, the goaltenders and defenses stepped up to keep the game at that number. For nearly five minutes, no goals were scored by either team, and it seemed as though Virginia could get back into it.

But with just under four minutes to go in the half, Maryland went on another deadly run to close it out, something it’s done all season long. Three straight goals were scored in order by Hartshorn, Giles and Whittle within a 61-second period, with the latest being yet another hat trick for the captain.

Jones scored her second goal of the game and her seventh of the season for the Cavaliers, sending the teams into the halftime break with Maryland leading 9-5.

Virginia scored less than a minute into the second half thanks to Ana Hagerup, and with the Terps up three goals the game went into a standstill. Excellent defense and even better goaltender play became the theme of the next eight minutes. After Taylor Hensh failed to convert on a free-position opportunity and Caroline Steele’s goal was called back for a crease violation, Virginia’s Avery Shoemaker scored and was immediately followed by Kasey Behr. All of a sudden, it was a one-score game and the Terrapins’ streaks were in jeopardy.

Maryland hadn’t scored in 17 minutes when Hartshorn decided to take matters into her own hands. The sophomore had started the run to close out the first half and extend Maryland’s lead, but it was her second half goal that paved the way for yet another home victory.

Hartshorn’s goal was followed up almost immediately by Whittle. It took just 10 seconds of game time, and the Terps were once again in a state of semi-comfortability. With over 15 minutes left on the game clock, they were leading by three.

The lid had been taken off the goal, and if that wasn’t evident yet it soon would be. Taylor Hensh scored her 19th of the season, and that was followed up by Hartshorn, giving the sophomore another hat trick on the year. And if four goals wasn’t enough, Whittle scored yet another to give Maryland a six-goal edge. Hartshorn would score her fourth at the 1:18 mark, but that was just gravy on yet another convincing win over a top team.

Maryland will be back in action on Friday at home against Rutgers. The game had originally been scheduled for Saturday, but was moved in order to avoid the forecasted snow. As such, it will no longer be shown on BTN Plus. The Big Ten contest will begin at 5 p.m. ET.

Three things to know

1. It’s Megan Whittle’s world, and we’re just living in it. With five goals leading her team to another win over a top-10 opponent, Whittle’s senior season is among the best in recent Maryland history. It’s hard to top a season in which she led the undefeated national champions in points, but that hasn’t stopped her from trying.

2. The weather was a factor. Devastating winds had been present all day in College Park, and that carried into Wednesday’s game. The offenses were held relatively silent as the high-speed winds whipped all around the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex.

3. And it will continue to be. Playing on Saturday after a physical Wednesday game is tough enough, but the snow will take away the little rest that the team did have. Fortunately for the Terps, the bigger test of the two is already behind them. Rutgers isn’t at the caliber of Virginia, but they still shouldn’t be taken lightly.