Maryland's Katie Schwarzmann gets a hug from Kristy Black,… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kim…)
COLLEGE PARK — — Maryland's women's lacrosse team didn't look much like the No. 1 team early in the first half of Saturday's NCAA quarterfinal, throwing the ball away and managing little offense.
Goalie Brittany Dipper had to keep Princeton in check until Maryland's offense finally built momentum that would blow the game open.
One of Dipper's career-high 15 saves led to a Kristy Black goal with 8:53 left in the first half and set off a seven-goal blitz. After that, the Terrapins rolled 15-6 over No. 12 Princeton at Maryland's Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.
The defending national champion Terrapins (20-1) will make their 18th appearance in the NCAA semifinals Friday when they meet No. 7 Duke, a 13-9 winner over No. 3 Florida in Saturday's quarterfinal, at Stony Brook on Long Island, N.Y. They will go for their 12th national championship.
"We're going to the final four. That's all that matters," said Terps senior Sarah Mollison, who had four goals.
Princeton, one of Maryland's oldest rivals, came into the game riding a five-game winning streak that included upsets of No. 10 Penn en route to the Ivy League championship and No. 9 James Madison in last week's opening round. The Tigers (12-7) outplayed the Terps early and took advantage of Maryland's sloppy start with a 3-1 lead on Cassie Pyle's second goal of the game.
That forced Maryland coach Cathy Reese to take time out.
"When we started the game, we had one goal in 21 minutes. That's not like us," Reese said. "And I think we weren't clearing the ball well and granted Princeton had great pressure on us, but just we needed to believe in ourselves and have confidence in each other and what we were capable of."
The Terps, who average 15 goals, started moving the ball better in transition and after a Dipper save, Alex Aust found Black from behind the net to cut the Princeton lead to 3-1 with 8:53 to go before the half. Laura Merrifield scored 27 seconds later and Mollison gave the Terps the lead for good on a feed from Katie Schwarzmann with 7:42 left.
"We just came together, getting all seven working together and moving the ball, working for each other and sticking our shots," Mollison said. "Once we got a little momentum going, we kind of just went from there."
Mollison, the senior playmaker, scored three times within 30 seconds to cap the seven-goal run and give the Terps an 8-3 lead. They outscored the Tigers, 13-1, through the middle of the game, taking a 14-4 lead when Beth Glaros fed Aust with 11:02 left.
In a game that featured 65 shots — 34 of them from Maryland — Princeton senior goalie Erin Tochihara also made some terrific stops among her 14 saves. She stopped four shots during the Tigers' opening run, but once the Terps started rolling, they were getting great looks at the net.
"Maryland, they have a lot of quality attackers, and they all look to cage," Tochihara said. "They always have me on edge in that I know they're always going to cage or they're going to feed and go to cage. They're a lot quicker team than a lot of the teams that we play."
Princeton 4 2 -- 6
Maryland 8 7 -- 15
Goals: P—Pyle 2, Gassaway, Davis, Ellis, Lloyd; M—Mollison 4, Schwarzmann 4, Merrifield 3, Black 3, Aust. Assists: P—Pyle; M—Schwarzmann 2, Mollison, Aust, Glaros, Jones. Saves: P—Tochihara 14; M—Dipper 15.