Last May, Maryland women’s lacrosse rolled over Northwestern in the NCAA quarterfinals en route to its second straight national title.
This year’s team might be even better.
Fueled by a 12-goal second half, the No. 1 Maryland Terrapins (9-0, 1-0 B1G) dominated the No. 8 Northwestern Wildcats (4-5, 0-1 B1G) 17-4 Thursday, keeping their undefeated season alive.
The Wildcats had been on a solid run coming into tonight’s game, winning three of their previous four matches, but Maryland represented their toughest task yet. Facing their seventh ranked opponent in their first nine matches, the Wildcats found themselves trailing early, as Maryland struck just 54 seconds in. But the Terps weren’t done there, tallying three more times in the next four minutes to extend their lead to 4-0.
Kelly Amonte Hiller had seen enough. After her team had barely gotten a sniff of the ball in the opening five minutes, the Northwestern head coach called a timeout to settle things down. It seemed to work, as Northwestern accumulated some possession forced four saves out of Maryland freshman goalie Megan Taylor in a span of just over two minutes. The pressure finally led to Kaleigh Craig’s 18th goal of the season with 7:38 to play in the half. After Maryland increased its lead back to four with 5:22 left, Northwestern’s Shelby Fredericks continued her tremendous run of play with a late goal with under half a minute left to pull the deficit to 5-2.
Maryland seemed to be content to go on cruise control in the first half, but after the halftime break, the Terrapins shifted into another gear, pounded on the accelerator and never let off. Led by two-time Tewaaraton Award winner Taylor Cummings, the Terrapins tallied twelve goals in the second half to roll to a 17-4 rout.
Cummings scored two of her five goals in the first 2:20 of the frame, pushing Maryland’s lead to 7-2. Northwestern’s Danita Stroup pulled one back with a nice behind-the-back finish just over six minutes in to make it 7-3, but before Christina Esposito scored her ninth goal of the year, Maryland tallied six times, including a trio of goals from Megan Whittle, to all but seal the deal.
Esposito provided a brief glimmer with 13:39 to play to make it 13-4, but then four different Maryland players scored to finish off the rout at 17-4. Maryland has yet to lose a game this season, and has now won 45 consecutive games at College Park.
The toughest lacrosse schedule in the nation doesn’t get much easier for Northwestern, with a date with No. 16 Penn in Philadelphia on tap Sunday before Big Ten play resumes against Michigan on Thursday April 7 back in Evanston.