The last time top-ranked Maryland played No. 14 Dartmouth two years ago, the Big Green ruined the Terps' bid for a perfect season.
Maryland made sure that would not happen again in the rematch Sunday with another undefeated season within its grasp.
The Terps dominated from the opening draw and cruised to a 17-8 victory before an announced 1,143 in their final regular-season home game. Alex Aust scored six goals on nine shots and moved into third on the program's all-time assists list with 120. Maryland improved to 16-0 and is the only unbeaten team in Division I women's lacrosse after No. 20 Loyola handed No. 5 Notre Dame its first loss of the season Saturday.
"We go into every game this season knowing it's going to be a battle," Maryland coach Cathy Reese said. "Teams are coming out and playing hard and I give them a ton of credit. Our challenge is being able to focus on Maryland and being able to execute our game plan."
Maryland also honored its seven seniors, who lost one regular-season game at home in four years.
Katie Schwarzmann (Century) and Kelly McPartland each had two goals and two assists for Maryland. Taylor Cummings (McDonogh), Brooke Griffin (South River) and Halle Majorana also scored twice for the Terps.
Hana Bowers led Dartmouth (8-5) with four goals.
In 2011, Maryland traveled to Dartmouth as the nation's top-ranked team and lost 9-8 in double overtime. The loss snapped the Terps' 28-game winning streak and was their first setback since the NCAA semifinals in 2009.
Much like the previous meeting, Dartmouth tried to maintain long possessions and slow the pace of the game. When Aust jogged to the sideline to confer with Reese, a Dartmouth defender was right beside her.
The Terps, however, countered this strategy with quick transitions, deft passes and aggressive cuts past defenders.
"We just communicate with each other so we are not getting complacent on defense," Schwarzmann said. "It's not the first we've seen someone take long possessions."
Maryland opened 3-0 lead on goals by Cummings, Schwarzmann and McPartland in the opening eight minutes, forcing Dartmouth to call a timeout. After Dartmouth's Courtney Bennett cut the margin to 3-1 with 17:31 left in the first half, Aust answered with a pair of goals in 55 seconds.
"Being our last regular-season home game, we were just real excited," Aust said. "We love playing at home. It's kind of easy getting up for a game like this."
Bowers then scored twice and Dartmouth trailed just 5-3 with 8:28 remaining. However, additional goals by Cummings, Griffin, McPartland and Majorana increased the lead to 9-3 at the break.
The Terps and the Big Green traded two goals each to start the second half. But Maryland was never threatened and Aust scored four times in seven minutes, increasing the lead to 14-6 with 18:53 remaining.
Maryland dictated play and Griffin and Majorana later scored five minutes apart to boost the lead to 16-7 with 10:49 left. Maryland closes out the regular season Saturday at Virginia Tech and then travels to Chapel, Hill, N.C, for the ACC Tournament on April 25.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun