Terps turn up pressure, pull away from Cavaliers

March 06, 2010|By Todd Karpovich | Special to The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — — Even though Maryland is historically the most storied women's lacrosse program, with a record nine NCAA championships, the Terps have recently been overshadowed by Northwestern, which has won the past five national titles.

This season, second-ranked Maryland appears committed to regain its prominence, and made another statement Friday night by holding No. 9 Virginia scoreless in the second half en route to a 11-5 victory before an announced 669. Coupled with last week's blowout victory over No. 5 Duke, a sense of tradition is not being lost on the Terps, who return every starter from last season.

"We have a tradition of national championships here ... but I think we've had outstanding teams at Maryland [since the last national championship in 2001]," said fourth-year head coach Cathy Reese, who is 29-1 at home. "We've always been a top-10 program, and there are so many talented teams out there in women's lacrosse, so we are fighting like everybody else. Obviously, we'd like to regain the national title, but our focus is one day at a time to get better and stronger every day. "

Karri Ellen Johnson (Broadneck) led Maryland with four goals, Caitlyn McFadden (Notre Dame Prep) added three and Sarah Mollison and Brandi Jones each had two. The Terps improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Kaitlin Duff scored twice for the Cavaliers (2-2, 0-1).

A goal by Mollison set up by an explosive, 30-yard run by Laura Merrifield, gave Maryland a 7-5 lead with 18:04 left in the game. Jones then scored off a free position 58 seconds later for a three-goal cushion.

Maryland continued to pressure and added to the lead on a goal by McFadden. Johnson's fourth goal and a behind-the-back goal by Jones rounded out the scoring.

Virginia dominated possession early in the second half, but Maryland's defense was effective in keeping the Cavaliers from getting open shots. The Terps eventually settled down and dictated the game the rest of the way.

"We were playing safe in the first half, but then we just picked it up mentally," said Karissa Taylor, the Terps' top defender. "We just had to start playing our own game and become more aggressive. In the second half, we really stepped it up."

The teams traded goals throughout the first half, but McFadden scored with 6:53 left to give Maryland a 6-5 lead at the break. The Terps outshot Virginia 14-8, but each team controlled six draws and had two ground balls in the opening half.

"We're a very fast-paced team and I think we just turned the switch," Johnson said. "I think a big part of UVa.'s strategy is to hold the ball and kind of catch us off guard, so we were ready for that and were prepared for that."

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