No. 2-ranked Maryland women’s lacrosse blew past No. 7 Michigan, 14-3, on Saturday in a battle of the top two teams in the Big Ten so far this season.
On senior day in College Park, the Terrapins (14-0, 4-0 Big Ten) shook up their starting lineup to accommodate all 10 of their seniors, and the team did not miss a beat. Jen Giles led the way with four goals and one assist, while Erica Evans added two goals herself. Goalie Megan Taylor also finished this game with 10 saves on 13 shots faced (76.9 percent).
Maryland throughly dominated the stat sheet in this matchup, finishing with a 35-22 lead in shots, a 26-13 lead in shots on target and a 14-5 advantage in the draw circle despite losing the first three of the game. The Terrapins also had 14 turnovers, but compared to the 12 Wolverine turnovers, no real advantage was drawn on that front.
Michigan (13-1, 3-1) drew first blood, scoring just 33 seconds into the game thanks to an unassisted goal by Maggie Kane. Both teams went into a stalemate for just over 11 minutes, but Maryland’s Caroline Steele flipped the script as she scored the Terrapins’ first goal. The team didn’t look back, as they quickly took the lead and scored eight unanswered goals to carry an 8-1 lead into halftime.
Maryland led 21-15 in shots, 15-7 in shots on target and 7-3 in draw controls to build this halftime lead. Most of the Terrapins’ goals came by way of individual effort, including a superb finish by Kali Hartshorn with just over 10 minutes to play in the half.
The Terrapins scored first to start the second half, but Michigan put an end to the nine-goal run with a goal by Molly Garrett. Similarly to the first half, it was mostly Maryland from there on out. A 5-1 Maryland run that featured an intermittently running clock helped the Terrapins close this game out. A late goal by Hannah Warther, and a lineup of players whom have been in supporting roles this season got the chance to shine as time ran off the clock.
Maryland will likely be facing its final top-10 opponent next week, as the Terrapins travel to play No. 4-ranked Northwestern on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET in a game that will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Three things to know
1. Megan Taylor remains on fire. This matchup marked her fifth consecutive game with a save percentage above 60 percent, as she finished with a 76.9 percent effort in this one. Taylor has won five consecutive Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week awards, and this doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.
“I’ve been saying it all year: I have the best defense,” Taylor said after the game. “I think every single one of my defenders [is] an All-American. And I know they can’t give all the All-Americans to Maryland, but in my mind and my eyes, I contribute everything I’m able to do because of them. Every award I get, every little thing, that Maryland defense is because of them.”
2. Maryland’s seniors stepped up and shined in this one. Mostly led by Caroline Steele, Jen Giles and Erica Evans, the Terrapin seniors finished with seven goals and two assists, taking part in nine of Maryland’s 14 goals on the evening. With postseason play around the corner, these experienced players will continue to be the difference as the season progresses both in games and in practice.
“We have such an amazing senior class,” senior defender Julia Braig said. “We’re all so fortunate to be together. ... I think in practice all the players, all the seniors, [are] making such a big difference and making everyone better, so to really have them on the field at the end was such an amazing feeling.”
3. The Terrapins still face three more ranked teams to close out the regular season. Even though the bulk of their season’s tests are over, the Terrapins travel to play No. 4-ranked Northwestern next week, and will close the season with tests against Georgetown and Johns Hopkins who are currently ranked 22nd and 19th respectively. With the NCAA Tournament right around the corner, Maryland will continue to test itself moving forward.
“[Maryland vs. Northwestern] is always a game that our group looks forward to,” head coach Cathy Reese said when talking about the rivalry between these two storied programs. “I do think where we are in the season and what we’ve seen and what we’ve accomplished, that I’ve got great leadership from this group of seniors and they’re ready to kind of tackle whatever challenge that comes their way.”