If there's one lesson Maryland coach Cathy Reese took out of her team's narrow loss last weekend to Duke, it was that her fourth-ranked Terrapins— who start four freshmen and lack experience on defense —can't afford to miss prime scoring chances.
"We had a ton of opportunities and we needed to capitalize on them," Reese said. "We needed to step it up in this game."
Maryland did just that in a 12-9 win over No. 6 Virginia at home on Friday, scoring on seven of their nine shots in the second half. Maryland's Katie Schwarzmann (Century), Karri Ellen Johnson (Broadneck) and Kelly McPartland all scored three goals each.
The win extended Maryland's home-winning streak to 36, the fifth longest active home steak in Div. I athletics behind Ohio State men's tennis (136), Florida women's tennis (98), Stanford women's basketball (77) and Kentucky men's basketball (51).
The Terrapins (4-1, 1-1 ACC) improved to 53-1 at home under Reese.
But not before some tense moments.
Virginia (3-1, 0-1) fought back from a 7-2 deficit in the second half by scoring five of the next six goals, making it 8-7 when Josie Owen found freshman Daniella Eppler (Roland Park) streaking toward the goal for an easy score.
Down the stretch, however, Maryland scored three straight — including a free position by McPartland after her team had held the ball for nearly 5 minutes — to pull away.
"I wanted to pull them out and see what we had," Reese said of the stall tactic. "The weather was getting kind of bad… so we just wanted to make sure we made that possession count."
The Cavaliers attempted to use their patience as a weapon, but at times seemed like their own worst enemy on offense.
Down, 1-0, they held the ball for 3 minutes, passing it back and forth and only rarely cutting toward the goal, seemingly in search of a perfect scoring chance. The Cavaliers, in fact, didn't take their first shot until 13:10 into the game.
Maryland, meanwhile, built a 2-0 lead on solo efforts by McPartland and Johnson.
The key momentcame with 7:38 left in the half, after Virginia's Charlie Finnigan scored the game-tying goal. The referees, however, ruled that freshman Morgan Stephens had entered the game illegally, seconds before her penalty had expired.The goal was disallowed, much to the dismay of Cavaliers coach Julie Myers, who moments later was whistled for a yellow card.
Maryland's Kristy Black (Glenelg) took full advantage, scoring a man-up goal, and Schwarzmann followed seconds later with another to increase the lead to 4-1.
"I think we lost our cool a little bit with all the fouls and cards," Myers said. "I think it was mismanagement on the table staff who told us the wrong time to go in. We went when they told us to go in, then all of a sudden we were told we went in at the wrong time."
The Terrapins then quickly pulled away after halftime, with Johnson and midfielder Beth Glaros (Winters Mill) scoring back-to-back goals in a span of 9 seconds to make it 7-2.
"We had some adjustments and came out stronger in the second half," Johnson said.
One key adjustment came on draws. After losing six of eight in the first half, the Terrapins dominated after the break, winning 10 of 15.