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After OT scares, No. 2 Maryland women’s lacrosse enjoys easy 14-9 win over No. 6 Penn

The last two times the Maryland women’s lacrosse team played at home, the Terps were forced to go into overtime before emerging with victories.

So Wednesday evening’s convincing 14-9 rout of No. 6 Penn before an announced 981 at Maryland Stadium was a welcomed respite for the No. 2 Terps.

Maryland (7-0) scored eight consecutive goals over a 10-minute span to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 9-2 advantage with 8:53 remaining in the first half. The Quakers (6-1) never got closer than five the rest of the way.

The relative ease with which the Terps won was wildly different from their last two games in their friendly confines.

On Feb. 24, senior attacker Caroline Steele scored a goal with 2:46 left in the second three-minute session of overtime to lift the team to a 13-12 victory over then-No. 2 North Carolina. And on Saturday, junior attacker Kali Hartshorn took a pass from junior midfielder Hannah Warther and scored with 1:43 left in the extra session to propel Maryland to a 12-11 win against No. 4 Syracuse.

Steele — who led all scorers Wednesday with five goals, including four straight in a 4:13 span — acknowledged how relieving it felt to play a game absent of much drama.

“To come out with a five-goal win, it’s always a great win, especially when you beat a top 10 team,” the Severna Park native and Severn graduate said. “Credit to Penn. They’re such a great team. So there was a little less pressure, I guess.”

A little later, Steele defended tight games, adding, “Overtime’s a little thrill, right?”

That brought an emphatic “No” from coach Cathy Reese.

“This game is a tough one because emotions are high after we play a game like our Syracuse game,” Reese said. “The crowd was in it, there were so many people here, the game goes to overtime, and the Syracuse-Maryland rivalry is one that has existed for a long time. And then you turn around, and you’ve got a day off on Sunday, and you’ve got two days to prepare for another top 10 game, which is midweek, in the dark. It’s just a different kind of time with a quick turnaround.”

In addition to Steele, the Terps offense got two goals and one assist each from senior midfielder Jen Giles (Mount Hebron) and junior attacker Brindi Griffin (McDonogh) and two goals from Hartshorn. The unit shot 69.2 percent (9-for-13) in the first half as the Terps dissected Penn’s interior defense.

Entering the game, the Quakers had surrendered only 6.7 goals per game, and their season-worst goals allowed was 10. But the Terps chased out starting junior goalkeeper Mikaila Cheeseman, who was replaced by freshman Krissy Kowalski for the final 20:11.

“We talked about how strong [Penn’s goalies] were and that they’ve had a great season to this point and that we needed to take an extra second to move the goalie,” Reese said, noting that the offense also converted on 3-of-4 free-position chances. “And I thought we did a nice job of that.”

In the second half, the Terps’ 3-0 run over a 1:35 span was matched by Penn’s 3-0 spurt over 1:41. But Griffin converted a feed from graduate student midfielder Erica Evans with 16:10 remaining, and senior goalkeeper Megan Taylor (Glenelg) made two of her game-high 13 saves in the latter stages of the second half to keep things comfortable.

Junior midfielder Erin Barry paced the Quakers with four goals, and junior attacker Gabby Rosenzweig compiled two goals and one assist. But sophomore attacker Zoe Belodeau, who entered the game with a team-high 15 goals, was limited to one goal by redshirt junior defender Meghan Doherty (Mount Hebron).

“I get a front-row seat to watch the best defenders in the country play in front of me,” said Taylor, who was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week in each of the past two weeks. “So every game, that’s fun. They make my job easy. They put me in position where I can save the ball, and that’s really how I’m successful. Without them, they would score all the time on me.”

Notes: Evans scored her only goal of the game with 10:54 left in the first half, the 200th goal of her career. Evans has scored 14 goals for Maryland and 186 for Canisius. … The Terps extended their home winning streak to a program-record 81 games and have not lost since March 10, 2012.

Penn 4 5 — 9

Maryland 9 5 — 14

Goals: P—Barry 4, Rosenzweig 2, Belodeau, Crawford, Panzarella; M—Steele 5, Giles 2, B.Griffin 2, Hartshorn 2, Evans, G.Griffin, May. Assists: P—Rosenzweig; M—Colson, Evans, Giles, B.Griffin, G.Griffin. Saves: P—Cheeseman 2, Kowalski 2; M—Taylor 13.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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