Playing a slow-down offense that ran lots of time off the clock, Boston College's women's lacrosse team gave Maryland its toughest game of the season Saturday. In the end, however, the Terps were the ones who milked the clock to victory.
The No. 4 Eagles had possession about 22 minutes of the second half, but after Erin Collins gave the No. 2 Terps a 10-9 lead with 4:19 left, Maryland's Beth Glaros (Wilde Lake) won the next draw. The Terps then stalled away the rest of the game at Maryland's Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex to improve to 13-0 overall and 4-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"We held the ball for 31/2 minutes, and that's pretty impressive for any team I've ever had," Maryland coach Cathy Reese said. "I don't hold the ball. I get bored very easily, so every team I have is going to have an offense that is going to attack the cage. Because of that, holding the ball for that long is very difficult."
When Boston College coach Acacia Walker pulled her goalie and left her net open in the final few minutes, Reese, who called two timeouts down the stretch, gave her players the option of shooting if they were stuck in defensive coverage. The Terps' preferred to make sure the Eagles didn't get the ball back.
Early in the half, which was played in a steady drizzle, the Eagles (8-3, 1-3) made the most of every possession.
The Terps won the first four draws of the game to run up a 4-0 lead in less than 10 minutes and they went into halftime leading 6-3. Once the Eagles started winning the draws, the pace slowed dramatically.
After winning the first draw of the second half, Maryland turned it over and didn't get the ball back for more than 10 minutes. Boston College settled its attack and worked for openings against a quick-moving Terps defense allowing just 6.83 goals per game.
Sarah Mannelly had two of her three goals and an assist in the run. She assisted on a goal by Covie Stanwick (Notre Dame Prep) that completed a 5-0 Eagles run for an 8-6 lead with 19:39 left.
Reese then decided to shake things up a bit with two freshmen. She put goalie Emily Kift into the game for Abbey Clipp (Marriotts Ridge), who made all four of her saves in the first half, and sent midfielder Deb Milani (Catonsville) in to take the draws. Each provided a spark.
Milani's change of pace led to three straight Terps draw controls and three straight goals. Taylor Cummings (McDonogh), who led the Terps with three goals, cut the lead to 8-7, and Glaros tied it from her knees on a sidearm shot around her defender.
Boston College struck quickly with its next goal as Stanwick sent a low skimmer past Kift, but Kift would make up for that over the next 10 minutes with three terrific saves, two against Stanwick and one against Mannelly, to preserve the tie.
"Emily came in as a freshman with a bunch of confidence and made three saves that we really needed," Cummings said. "She took the pressure and she ran with it, and we all kind of rallied around her."
The Terps recovered the rebound off Kift's third save, and a minute and a half later, Kelly McPartland looked for an opening on the left side of Boston College's goal. She raced around behind the crease and found Collins driving from the right for the game winner.
The Eagles outshot Maryland 26-15, but the Terps' efficient quick-strike offense made up for their lack of possession — although just barely against a team that has lost only to No. 1 North Carolina, No. 2 Maryland and No. 3 Syracuse, by a total of four goals.
To Walker, a former All-America Terps midfielder, Maryland's fast start had more to do with the outcome than anything later in the game.
"Everybody always talks about what happened at the end of the game and what we would have done better at the end of the game, but for this game, I really wish we had come out stronger so that we don't get into a tight situation and you don't have to climb your way back. Because you're in trouble if you have to climb your way back against Maryland," Walker said.
The Terps have a week to prepare for their next game, a trip to Chapel Hill to meet 11-0 North Carolina for a rematch of last year's triple-overtime national championship, won by the Tar Heels, 13-12.
Boston College 3 6 -- 9
Maryland 6 4 -- 10
Goals: BC—Mannelly 3, Stanwick 2, Rix 2, Blue, Barry; M—Cummings 3, Glaros 2, Majorana 2, Collins 2, Griffin. Assists: BC—Stanwick 2, Mannelly; M—McPartland 2, Cummings, Griffin. Saves: BC—Mata 3, M—Clipp 4, Kift 3.