Top-seed Terps women beat Penn, 15-10

Maryland 15, Pennsylvania 10

  • Maryland senior Caitlyn McFadden is a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist, the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and the ACC tournament Most Valuable Player.
Maryland senior Caitlyn McFadden is a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist,… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth…)
May 23, 2010|By Katherine Dunn | Baltimore Sun reporter

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland's Caitlyn McFadden and Sarah Mollison excel at exploiting openings on the crease but never better than in Saturday's NCAA quarterfinal.

The duo picked apart a strong Pennsylvania defense, combining for 10 goals and four assists to lead No. 1 Maryland past the No. 8 Quakers, 15-10, at Ludwig Field for their second straight trip to the final four and the 18th in Terrapins women's lacrosse history.

Terps (20-1) will meet Syracuse, a 7-3 semifinal winner over James Madison, Friday night at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Facing a Penn defense allowing fewer than seven goals a game and goalie Emily Szelest, who made 18 saves in the opening-round 14-9 win over Boston University, McFadden and Mollison found openings to the net in the first seven minutes.

After Emma Spiro gave the Quakers (15-4) a quick lead, McFadden and Mollison each rolled the crease to slip a low shot from the left side past Szelest to pull ahead 2-1 -- a lead the Terps would never relinquish.

Mollison, a junior attacker who sets up much of the attack from behind the crease, said her teammates made it easy for her to find the gaps in Penn's defense.

"I was looking to draw players," Mollison said of her moves from behind the crease, "and whoever's open, any of my teammates [who are] open, I'll hit them and if they get out of my way, I'll take my opporunities. Obviously all seven of us are just trying to work for each other to put our shots away when we had the opportunity."

Karri Ellen Johnson and Mollison added goals to make it 4-1 for the Terps, but the Quakers closed to within two goals as late as 22:27 in the second half when Ali DeLuca fed Megan Smith.

The Quakers were within three, 12-9, when the Terps scored three authoritative goals to all but put the game away.

McFadden, a Tewaaraton Award finalist and two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, raced half the field to sling a side-arm shot past Szelest with 8:18 to go. Less than a minute later, Johnson spun inside her defender on the crease to bounce one in. Then McFadden scooped up a ground ball at midfield and raced straight down the middle to shoot high for a 15-9 lead with 6:20 to go.

Szelest finished with seven saves, but the Terps were efficient with their attack. Johnson hit all four of her shots, McFadden was 6-for-8 and Mollison was 5-for-7 as the Terps scored 15 goals on 23 shots. They only outshot the Quakers by one goal.

"It wasn't a goalie issue," Penn coach Karen Brower said, of Maryland's efficiency. "I think that when the ball's on one side of the field up high and the cutter is coming around the crease on the opposite side, it's not really a goalie play. It's a defensive error. We knew they were going to do it and we didn't help from the opposite side stack. We didn't anticipate and get over."

For the Quakers, who lost only to Maryland, Northwestern and North Carolina this season, the loss ends a three-year run of final four appearances.

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