For the second year in a row, Maryland has topped Northwestern in the Big Ten lacrosse championship game, beating the ‘Cats 14-6.
After Friday’s upset against Penn State, Northwestern (10-9, 4-2 B1G) couldn’t best undefeated and top-ranked Maryland (19-0, 6-0 B1G) at their home field in College Park, Md. A competitive first half gave way to a second-half rout as the Wildcats’ offense fell flat and the defense appeared to run out of gas.
Maryland opened the title game on a 4-0 run, notching four goals in the first ten minutes before Nicole Beardsley finally got NU on the board fifteen minutes into the game. Maryland answered with a goal of their own two minutes later before NU’s offense finally got going in the last 10 minutes of the half. Goals by Liza Elder, Christina Esposito and Danita Stroup (along with one Maryland goal) made it 6-4 going into halftime with the ‘Cats carrying all the momentum.
Unfortunately for the 'Cats, it didn’t last long.
The second half started quiet for the first six minutes, then Maryland exploded. Zoe Stukenberg scored for the Terps before Caroline Steele scored twice in 26 seconds to make it 9-4. Two goals and two minutes later, and the game suddenly felt out of reach for NU at 11-4.
From there, Northwestern failed to mount a serious comeback: Sheila Nesselbush and Beardsley each scored to cut the lead to five, but cutting the lead to five is rarely going to be enough with 15 minutes left against the best team in the country. In the final 14 minutes, NU’s offense was nowhere to be seen: They didn’t score even as Maryland added three more goals to put the icing on the cake.
Beardsley led the team with two goals while Steele had four and Stukenberg had two for UMD. Maryland continued their dominance of the ‘Cats: Northwestern is yet to beat the Terrapins since joining the Big Ten.
Up next is likely the NCAA Tournament, which starts this weekend: Northwestern will learn whether it got an at-large bid tonight at 8 p.m. CT.