By Todd Carton –
I’ve heard it said that the two certainties in life are death and taxes. At some point someone might have to consider adding “a win at home by the Maryland women’s lacrosse team” to that very short list. The tenth ranked Virginia Cavaliers came to chilly and blustery College Park looking to end one unenviable streak – 12 consecutive losses to Maryland dating back to 2008 – and one nearly unfathomable streak – 70 straight home wins by the Terrapins. They failed on both counts. The Terps registered a 15-8 win – their seventh in eight games against ranked teams this season. Maryland improves to 10-1 while the Cavaliers fall to 8-4.
(Historical aside: Maryland’s last home loss was 10-9 to Syracuse on March 10, 2012. Since then, the Terrapins have not only reeled off 71 consecutive home wins but they are also 11-0 against the Orange.)
On a night when Caroline Steele failed to score, one could easily conclude that the players of the game were Megan Whittle and Kali Hartshorn who combined for nine of Maryland’s 15 goals. Whittle found the back of the net five times giving her 48 goals on the season and 262 for her career. She is now within five of the all-time Maryland record of 267 held by Jen Adams. Hartshorn, the sophomore from New Jersey, scored four times and added an assist.
But we would be remiss if we placed all our attention on the goal scorers because three other players – Megan Siverson, Lizzie Colson and Megan Taylor – had critical roles in this win. While Hartshorn was effective on the offensive end, she struggled in the draw circle which is another spot where she usually makes a substantial contribution. In fact, Virginia won the first four draws before Terps head coach Cathy Reese decided to replace Hartshorn with Siverson. Maryland won seven of the remaining 11 draws in the half and this allowed the Terrapins to build a 9-4 lead going into the break.
But Siverson had plenty of help on the draw circle from the reigning and four time B1G Defensive Player of the Week, Lizzie Colson. Colson finished the game with five draw controls, two ground balls, a caused turnover and an assist. She picked up the latter after plucking a draw out of the air and perfectly executing a fast break to Whittle at a crucial juncture in the game.
(Statistical note: In women’s lacrosse, a draw control is awarded to the player who physically controls the ball unlike the men’s game where the player at the face off ‘X’ is awarded a face off win if his team controls the ball.)
Just 10 seconds earlier, Hartshorn had scored to stop a four goal run by Virginia and end a 17 minute Maryland scoring drought. The fast break score padded the Terps’ lead to 11-8 with 15 and a half minutes to play.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the field, Maryland goalie Megan Taylor picked up five of her eight saves on the night anchoring a Terrapins defense that held the Cavaliers scoreless for the game’s final 20:04.
Impending weather has forced the Terps into another quick turnaround. With the possibility of snow looming, Maryland’s game against Rutgers originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, has been moved up to Friday at 5:00 pm. Though it’s not their final home game, the Terrapins will also honor the team’s eight seniors members of a class that has thus far compiled a record of 75-3 with two national championships and a title game appearance.