Maryland women hold off Johns Hopkins, 19-16, to advance to Big Ten final

The Johns Hopkins women's lacrosse team went into its first Big Ten tournament Friday night with a great game plan against No. 1 Maryland and a lot of energy.

The Blue Jays showed a patient offense that found holes in the Terps' man-to-man defense and ran out to a 3-1 lead. Over the next 14 minutes, though, Maryland did what Maryland does — strike quickly and strike often.

The defending Big Ten champion Terps used a 9-1 run midway through the first half to power a 19-16 victory in the Big Ten semifinal at their Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.

The Blue Jays (11-7) more than kept pace with the Terps (18-0) for all but that early stretch. They pulled within two late in the first half and were within three with 11:48 left in the game, but every time they pulled closer, the Terps answered.

"We go out knowing that we're Maryland lacrosse and everybody wants to beat us," Terps midfielder Kali Hartshorn said. "We're No. 1 in the country and we know that everyone's going to come out really intense, so I think we just need to keep our intensity up, match theirs and play better than them and come out with a win."

The Terps will go for their eighth conference title in 10 years when they meet Northwestern, which beat Penn State, 12-11, on Friday night, on Sunday at noon at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex. Maryland won the Atlantic Coast Conference title six straight times before moving to the Big Ten in 2015. They lost to Ohio State in the semifinals of their first Big Ten tournament and Penn State went on to win the title.

On Friday night, the Blue Jays were particularly driven to try to beat the Terps for the first time ever or at least to have a close game so they could leave the NCAA tournament selection committee with a better final impression than their 18-5 regular-season loss to No. 18 Towson on Sunday.

"Coming in, we had great energy," Blue Jays senior Haley Schweizer said. "We knew we had to have a good game against them to make a good case for ourselves for the tournament and I think we did just that."

While the Terps make their case for the No. 1 seed in Sunday's title game, the Blue Jays will await Sunday's 9 p.m. bracket announcement to see if they earn a berth.

Hopkins coach Janine Tucker said she believes her team's RPI is strong enough to merit a berth even though the Blue Jays do not have a significant win. Their showing against Maryland might help.

"We knew we had to bounce back from Sunday," Tucker said, "and we spent all week talking about being tough and sharing the ball and we did implement a couple of wrinkles offensively and I just couldn't be more proud of our effort."

During the regular season, Maryland beat the Blue Jays in their first Big Ten game, 17-4, but Hopkins scored that many goals Friday in a little over 12 minutes.

Megan Whittle (McDonogh), who finished with five goals, scored the first goal for the Terps, but the Blue Jays answered with three straight. Shannon Fitzgerald, who led the Jays with four goals, fed CeCe Finney (Roland Park) for the 3-1 lead less than six minutes into the game.

That lead, however, lasted just over a minute as the Terps reeled off six straight goals.

Caroline Steele (Severn) rolled the crease for a goal and, after Hartshorn fed Zoe Stukenberg (Marriotts Ridge), she netted a free-position goal with 23:33 left in the half to give Terps a 4-3 lead.

Steele had three of her five goals and an assist in the 9-1 run while Hartshorn had two goals.

Fitzgerald got one back for the Blue Jays, who scored after a Maryland turnover. The Terps then scored three in a row. Whittle fed Hartshorn and then scored back-to-back free-position goals, including her 200th career goal.

The Blue Jays cut it to two with four straight goals as Schweizer's goal from Maggie Schneidereith (Towson) pulled them within 10-8 with 4:32 left in the half.

But they would not get closer. Finney cut the Terps' lead to 16-13 late in the game, but the Terps answered with two draw controls and goals from Steele and Hartshorn on a feed from Caroline Wannen within 11 seconds to snuff the Blue Jays' momentum.

Hartshorn, a freshman who finished with four goals and two assists, also won eight draws, helping the Terps to a 23-14 advantage on draw controls.

The Terps had not allowed 16 goals all season. Their previous high was 14 in a 16-14 win against No. 5 Penn State. Goalie Megan Taylor (Glenelg) made five of her seven saves in the second half to hold off the Blue Jays.

No. 15 Northwestern 12, No. 5 Penn State 11: Megan Kinna intercepted a pass in front of Penn State’s cage and scored the go-ahead goal with less than a minute remaining to lift the Wildcats (10-8) over the Nittany Lions (15-3).

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

twitter.com/kdunnsun

JH 8 8 -- 16

M 12 9 -- 19

Goals: JH--Fitzgerald 4, Schweizer 3, Kenul 3, Finney 3, Friel 2, Schneidereith; M--Whittle 5, Steele 5, Hartshorn 4, Stukenberg 3, Wannen, Griffin. Assists: JH--Schneidereith 4, Schweizer 2, Fitzgerald, Kenul; M--Wannen 4, Hartshorn 2, Whittle, Steele, Stukenberg. Saves: JH--Federico 8; M--Taylor 7.

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