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Maryland women’s lacrosse’s weaknesses were finally exploited by Boston College in Final Four

The Terps simply couldn’t hit their stride Friday night after a dominant season.

NCAA Lacrosse: Women's Lacrosse Championship-Maryland vs Boston College Chris Bergmann-USA TODAY Sports

STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Maryland women’s lacrosse’s loss to Boston College in the NCAA Semifinals marks the first time since 2012 that the Terps won’t play for a National Championship.

The Terps got off to a quick start, scoring three goals in the first three minutes and five in the first eight, but slowed down from there. In the final 45 minutes, Maryland only scored seven goals to Boston College’s 13, allowing the Eagles to take control of the contest.

Boston College excelled at limiting Maryland’s runs, as the Terps only scored three goals in a row once, and that came in the first three minutes of the game.

“I mean, that’s the game—it’s answering,” Maryland head coach Cathy Reese said after the game. “Boston College did a really good job of finding those holes and hitting the cage.”

On the other end, after going up 6-2 in the first 15 minutes of the game, Maryland allowed Boston College to go on a 5-0 run to gain momentum and take the lead. As it turned out, the Terps wouldn’t be able to get that momentum back.

That was the only time in the game that Boston College scored more than two consecutive goals. However, the Terps don’t believe the issue was as much a lack of effort as much as it was a lack of execution.

“Sometimes we can get ahead of our ourselves, and we just need to buckle down in those situations and really make a big stop or put our foot down and score a goal,” junior midfielder Jen Giles said. “I wouldn’t say that they did anything differently. I think we just needed to step up and make a stop, and unfortunately we weren’t able to.”

Maryland had the most trouble getting Megan Whittle going in this game. The senior, who entered Friday with 83 scores—five shy of tying the single-season Maryland record and three away from 300 in her career—totaled one goal on three shots in the game. Yet, Reese was still happy with how the offense looked as a whole.

“Megan got herself a couple of three-seconds calls ... that put her on the meter that I know she wishes she would have been able to finish,” Reese said. “Boston College chose to faceguard her, and we figured that would happen, and the rest of our players were ready to step up.”

Boston College chose to use multiple defenders to attempt to limit Whittle’s production, and it worked.

“She’s a lot like some of the other top players we’ve seen this year where it’s not just one person’s job to stop her,” Boston College head coach Acacia Walker-Weinstein said. “We had to incorporate three to four people in different sliding packages and different techniques to try to stop her.”

Defensively, the Terps struggled with Tewaraaton Award finalist Sam Apuzzo, who led the game with four goals, in addition to securing 10 draw controls. Reese thought Braig did well defending Apuzzo, but the rest of the defense struggled to help at times.

“I thought Julia Braig had a really nice defensive game for the most part against her,” Reese said. “Sometimes we just missed the help a little late, and she’s a player that’s so dangerous that she’s going to score that. She’s one that you can’t be a little late on or she’s going to make it count.”

As the game went on, Apuzzo knew what to expect from Maryland’s defense, and was able to get into a rhythm after scoring her first goal.

“Maryland is a great defense and don’t really faceguard, so I knew that I was going to have a chance to get the ball and move it around,” she said.

Besides Apuzzo, three other Eagles scored hat tricks, exposing the Terps’ defense. All year, Maryland worked on replacing the experienced defense that left after last year, and the youth and inexperience showed Friday night.

“Defensively, I only had two returners back there with experience,” Reese said. “This was an experience for where we had to grow this season and just continue to work to get better and better.”