No. 2 Maryland women’s lacrosse took down No. 23 Penn State on Thursday, 17-6, despite a slow start in rainy weather to continue its dominance in conference play.
Sophomore Grace Griffin led the way with four goals, while Kali Hartshorn and Caroline Steele added three each. Senior goalie Megan Taylor stayed hot, saving 8 of 14 shots. After falling behind 3-1 early, Maryland turned it on and gained separation in the second half.
The Terrapins outshot the Nittany Lions 43-18, 33-14 in shots on target, and took a stranglehold on the draw control with a 19-6 advantage. Penn State was kept in this one thanks to 16 saves by freshman Taylor Suplee, but committed 23 fouls and turned the ball over 10 times to negate its early success.
Penn State started the game by taking control of the opening draw and subsequently scoring on its first possession. Maryland then failed to convert a man-up opportunity and hit the post, which the Nittany Lions were able to reverse field and take a 2-0 lead. Maryland head coach Cathy Reese then called a timeout to settle down her team, which immediately resulted in a Griffin goal to bring the score to 2-1. The Nittany Lions would not back down, however, making it 3-1 off of a two minute man-up chance.
The Terrapins were then able to execute a 6-1 run to take the lead and extend it to 7-4 at end the first half. Griffin was the bright light of the half for Maryland, as she put together a first half hat trick by scoring the Terrapins’ seventh goal.
At halftime, the stats didn’t quite reflect just how back-and-forth the first 30 minutes were. Maryland led 22-9 in shots, 17-6 in shots on target and 10-2 in draw controls. The Nittany Lions were able to come up with 10 saves, but turned the ball over seven times to negate their defensive stops.
Maryland came out of the gate powerfully to start the second half, winning the restart draw and scoring on its first possession. Jen Giles was able to take the ball near the end of the shot clock and sneak it high and past the keeper.
Maria Auth was able to answer for Penn State, making it an 8-5 game, but Maryland responded with more of the energy they exhibited in towards the end of the first half. Hartshorn was able to shoot one off the pipe and in, just before she and Steele were able to notch hat tricks off of free-position snipes to increase the lead to 12-5.
The Terrapins were ultimately able to turn an early 4-3 Penn State lead on its head and finish the game on a 14-2 run for the victory. Grace Griffin finished with 4 goals, while Hartshorn and Steele each finished with hat tricks for Maryland to spread their attack around.
Maryland will travel to face No. 7 James Madison on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., and the game will be televised on NBC Sports Washington.
Three things to know
1. Things started off shaky for the Terrapins. Whether it was the cold and rain or something more, Maryland struggled to break out of the starting gates with the same power it did against Ohio State. Things picked up in the second half, which covered up the struggles, but the Terrapins will have things to work on before taking on No. 7 James Madison on Sunday.
2. Caroline Steele performed well despite not being 100 percent. She finished this game with three goals on five shots, including a trademark free-position snipe. Early on in the first half, Steele showed a visible limp and came off the field, but came out firing to finish this game out. She has been taking things day-to-day since her injury during the Terrapins’ game against North Carolina, and her health will continue to be something to watch for moving into the heart of conference play.
3. The free-position offense is becoming much more efficient. After converting seven of eight chances directly against Ohio State, Maryland scored on two of its three free-position shots in this one. With Steele and Hartshorn heating up on direct shots, as well as plays passing the ball off to the side for scores, the Terrapins have seemed to find their stride from the eight-meter chance.