No. 2-ranked Maryland women’s lacrosse demolished Rutgers, 20-3, on the road Saturday afternoon, staying undefeated in a game that allowed many players to contribute.
The Terrapins (12-0, 3-0) started slow, but were able to turn on the jets and blow past Rutgers (5-7, 0-3) late in the first half. Maryland led by double-digits for the entire second half, which meant a running clock for the final 30 minutes.
Brindi Griffin led the Terps with a career-high four goals, and an incredible 12 Terps found the scoresheet in total. Megan Taylor took care of business in goal, saving six of seven shots she faced in the first half and earning a rest for the second half.
Maryland opened the game with a 4-1 run over the first 15 minutes, which included a goal and assist from senior attacker Caroline Steele, who had been bothered by leg injuries and missed the last two games. In the second 15-minute segment of the first half, Maryland scored seven goals to take an 11-1 lead and running clock into the locker room at halftime. Along with the goals, an astounding 26-13 lead in shots and 22-7 advantage in shots on net were just too much for the Scarlet Knights to answer.
The second half was slightly more even between the teams, as Maryland head coach Cathy Reese put in freshman goalkeeper Maddie McSally and a host of other bench players to get some more experience. The lead was 14-3 with 13 minutes left, and the Terrapins then scored the final six goals to complete the rout.
With the win, Reese is now tied for the Maryland program record with 260 career wins, tying legendary coach Cindy Timchal, who led the program from 1991-2006. The Terrapins will head back on the road Wednesday to face off against No. 7 Virginia.
Three things to know
1. Caroline Steele returned and immediately made an impact. The senior meant much more than just the one goal and one assist she ended up with on the stat sheet, as her presence helped open up chances for other attackers like Brindi Griffin to make a difference. Steele’s assist also came off a play where she intercepted a ball behind the cage and threw it to Kali Hartshorn for the empty net goal. That hustle is unmatched, and will be key for the Terrapins down the stretch.
“I told her I would only let her play 10 minutes, but I gave her 20,” Reese said about putting Steele back out on the field. Working Steele back into the lineup and up to full strength while also finding her groove will be key moving forward.
2. Maryland’s defense continued to shine. The Terrapins have now given up a combined 22 goals across their last five games, a rate of 4.4 goals per game. And with three of those five matches coming against ranked opponents, it’s clear that Maryland is hitting its stride on the defensive end already this season.
“We’ve come a long way from last year,” Reese said. “We’re really playing well together. ... We’re communicating well, our slides are where they need to be, and we’re coming up with loose balls.” Between the defense cutting down shooting lanes and Megan Taylor’s leadership in net, the defense is truly reaching new heights.
3. The Terrapins offense really spread the wealth around. Maryland finished with 13 different goal scorers in this one, after emptying the bench in the second half. While junior attacker Brindi Griffin did lead the way with four goals, many younger faces were able to make their mark in this one.
“We have such a talented team that any mix of people are obviously going to do really well together,” sophomore Kylie Davis said after scoring two goals in the second half. “We all mesh, so I think that we all played really well and executed really well.”