COLLEGE PARK — — The Maryland women's lacrosse program can be counted on to provide instant offense when needed . That trait served the Terps well Saturday afternoon.
The second-ranked Terps used a timely offense and a crushing defense to rout No. 5 Notre Dame, 16-10, in a key Atlantic Coast Conference game before an announced 1,093 at the Maryland Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex. It was the first-ever game between the teams — Maryland is in its last season in the ACC before joining the Big Ten, and Notre Dame is a newcomer to the conference.
The Terps were led by Brooke Griffin's four goals and three assists as well as four goals and two assists from Taylor Cummings (McDonogh). The Fighting Irish (6-3, 1-3) were paced by Rachel Sexton's three goals.
The Terps (9-0, 3-0) used draw controls from Cummings to dominate possession, especially late in the first half and throughout the second. Maryland outdrew the Fighting Irish 22-5.
"[Erin] Collins and [Beth] Glaros did an awesome job on the edge of the circle today," said Cummings. Draw controls aren't just the three people at the circle. It's the whole team. We did a great job in that facet of the game."
After running out to a 3-1 lead, the Terps got a little sloppy, and those turnovers helped the Irish catch up. Notre Dame got its second goal from leading scorer Cortney Fortunato 10:49 into the first half, then tied the score at 3 on Heidi Annaheim's deke of Maryland goalie Abbey Clipp (Marriotts Ridge) just 55 seconds later.
Then the Terps got their offense rolling. First it was Griffin (South River) scoring on a wrap-around from behind the net for a 4-3 lead with 8:55 left in the half. Maryland added to the lead a 1:42 later when Zoe Stukenberg (Marriotts Ridge) beat Irish keeper Allie Murray on a pass from behind the crease for a 5-3 lead. Notre Dame coach Christine Halfpenny didn't like what she was seeing and called timeout, but the Terps were just getting started.
A minute later, the Terps got another when Kelly McPartland beat Murray straight on with 6:17 left for a 6-3 lead. After the Irish got another, The Terps used goals by Griffin, McPartland and Kristen Lamon (St. Mary's) to close out the half with a 9-4 lead.
Maryland was never seriously threatened in the second half. The Terps held a 16-8 lead before Notre Dame scored twice in the final 1:05 of the game.
On defense, Maryland put junior Megan Douty on Fortunato, a freshman who entered averaging almost three goals a game.
"Megan did an awesome job on [Fortunato], said Terps coach Cathy Reese. "That was a big matchup for her, and she limited her opportunities. I thought that was big for us."
Reese was happy with the win over a Top 10 team but said there are still things to work on.
"There's always room to get better," said Reese. "Notre Dame outhustled us early on in the midfield, and the turnovers made me sick. We'd never played them, so we didn't know what to expect. Still, to win by six goals over a Top 10 team? I can't be too upset."
Maryland 16, Notre Dame 10
Goals: ND – Sexton 3, Pearsall, Fortunato, Toy, Annaheim, McMullan, Dalton, Powell; UM – Griffin 4, Cummings 4, McPartland 3, Glaros 2, Stukenberg 2, Lamon. Assists: ND – Eilers, Pearsall; UM – Griffin 3, Cummings 2, Collins, Mendez. Saves: ND – Murray 8, O'Sullivan 1; UM – Clipp 10. Half: UM, 9-4.