Terps romp with `new wrinkles'

UM women rip Penn State, 19-4, with flawless play

Jenkins scores five times

March 10, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Senior midfielder Christie Jenkins had some bad news yesterday for the rest of the women's collegiate lacrosse world.

"We're working on some new wrinkles," said Jenkins, moments after she had scored a team-high five goals in top-ranked Maryland's 19-4 romp over 10th-ranked Penn State in the Terps' home opener.

New wrinkles? How much better can the five-time defending national champion Terps get?

They have won 31 of their past 32 games, the loss, by 14-13, coming in triple overtime on the road five days ago to longtime nemesis North Carolina.

Six 1999 All-Americans are back from from a 21-0 squad that didn't graduate a single player. And right now, 3-1 Maryland has four of the nation's top five point-scorers, along with four of the top seven goal scorers, three of the top seven assist leaders, and the third-rated goalkeeper.

Yesterday, the Terps made shambles of the national rankings at Ludwig Field. When the Maryland players were running at half speed, they were still ahead of the Nittany Lions, who were outclassed.

Asked how Maryland could have improved on what was nearly a perfect work of art against Penn State, Jenkins replied: "I don't know. I guess we always could run faster."

When Maryland coach Cindy Timchal heard one of her returning All-Americans stretching to find a flaw in the team's performance, she could only smile proudly. Timchal, herself, could not have said it better.

Timchal is renowned for her ability to find at least one flaw in every game her team plays, no matter what the final score is. But even Timchal found it hard to criticize the Terps' textbook-like effort on a warm afternoon.

"As a coach, you always visualize your team going out and playing like this, because that's the way you draw it up for them," she said. "But we have to remember that every team will be fired up to play No. 1. That's what happened at North Carolina, and we weren't totally focused on our game."

In the days since that loss to the Tar Heels, Maryland has taken its anger out on Towson and Penn State by a combined score of 36-4. The bombardment of Towson was expected. But Penn State?

The Nittany Lions were a Final Four team last season and played Maryland tough in the NCAA semifinals before losing, 17-13, at Johns Hopkins. Now, Penn State (1-1) is ranked 10th in the country, and hardly anyone expected the Terps to bolt to a 6-0 lead in less than 10 minutes.

Jenkins and Jen Adams each struck for two goals in the game's first 8 1/2 minutes, and then Allison Comito and Tori Wellington both scored in the next minute to account for the quick lead.

With 2: 52 left in the first half, Wellington leaped high to intercept a Penn State pass and quickly got the ball to freshman Bridget Frande (Mount Hebron) for her career's first goal and a 12-2 lead.

While the new-wrinkle offense was on target in the opening minutes, Alex Kahoe, Maryland's standout senior goalkeeper, made three point-blank saves that virtually stopped any hope Penn State had.

Each one of Kahoe's early saves was more remarkable than the previous, prompting Penn State coach Karen Schnellenbach to say: "That was the game right there, when she made those saves.

"We had to score at least one of those goals, and we really needed to get an early lead.

"You just get to the point where you're almost helpless. Maryland has so much skill and speed that you have to slow it down to have a chance, and we never had an opportunity to do that."

Penn State 2 2 - 4

Maryland 12 7 - 14

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