COLLEGE PARK -- When the calendar changes to May, the attitude changes for the Maryland women's lacrosse team.
For a Terrapins team perpetually in the mix for a national championship, the start of the NCAA tournament means that it's time to get serious.
"It's time to get business done," Terps midfielder Taylor Cummings said. "We come out here, we have a guaranteed 60 minutes, and that's all we think about. If we win, we survive. If we lose, we go home. I don't think we're ready to go home yet."
Top-ranked Maryland made that abundantly clear in its tournament opener Sunday, as Cummings (McDonogh), junior midfielder Kelly McPartland and senior midfielder Beth Glaros (Wilde Lake) each notched a hat trick, and the host Terps allowed one goal over the final 33:38 in a 13-5 win over No. 13 Penn.
Maryland (20-1), the tournament's top-seeded team, advances to the NCAA quarterfinals Saturday at noon. The Terps will host Duke, a 10-8 winner over Notre Dame on Sunday. They defeated the Blue Devils, 19-10, earlier this season.
The key to the win Sunday was Cummings' utter dominance on draw controls. The sophomore, one of five players named as a Tewaaraton Award finalist, helped Maryland win 17 of 20 draws on the day, allowing the Terps to maintain possession and score seven of the final eight goals.
"It's just basically about 4 seconds of focus, that's what we always say," Cummings said. "We did a really good job of crashing in off the circle and coming in from the 30."
Draws also kept the Quakers (13-5) off the attack for long stretches, particularly after they cut the lead to 6-4 on a goal by midfielder Tory Bensen late in the first half.
"You can't give a team like Maryland that many possessions. You need to have the ball more," Penn coach Karin Corbett said. "When you lose the draw that much, it's like every shot matters. [The Terps] can afford to miss shots, and they know they're getting it back. When you have someone like Taylor Cummings on the draw, it's tough. She just wins a lot to herself."
All told, the Terps outshot Penn, 28-12, in knocking the eight-time Ivy League defending champion out of the tournament.
It was a dominant performance for a Maryland team coming off a two-week break following the ACC tournament.
Terps coach Cathy Reese said the long break was a welcome respite for her team, which is seeking its first national title since 2010.
"It gave us a chance to rest some people and just have some recovery coming off the ACC tournament," Reese said. "But it is a little hard to get moving again. You're in a rhythm of going at least two games a week, and then we're off for two weeks and just itching to play."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun