Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics
The No. 1 Maryland Terrapins defeated No. 15 Northwestern 18-9 on Thursday night to clinch the Big Ten regular season title outright, and their third undefeated regular season in a row.
It was the Caroline Steele show in Evanstown as the sophomore recorded six goals and an assist. Taylor Hensh and Caroline Wannen had themselves a solid night as well, each scoring four goals for the Terps.
It was a slow start for Maryland as Northwestern maintained a lot of possession and created multiple turnovers, leaving the second ranked offense in the nation with just one goal in the first 15 minutes, but then the Steele show commenced.
Being down 2-1, Steele quickly ignited the Terps offense, scoring a hat trick in just over 2 minutes. From there on out, Maryland’s offense started to look like it has all season.
The Terps ended up scoring eight goals in the final 15 minutes of the first half to jump out to a 9-4 lead at halftime.
The offense continued to roll in the second half as Maryland doubled their total from the first half.
While the offense was stagnant to start, the Maryland defense was strong throughout the whole game.
Northwestern dominated draw controls, winning 19 out of 29, but it did not matter as the Terps made it hard for the Wildcats to find good looks with a strong man-to-man defense. At times, they employed a double team against Northwestern’s leading scorer Christina Esposito, limiting her to one goal and one assist.
Nicole Beardsley was the catalyst for the Wildcats, scoring the first goal for the Wildcats. She finished the game with four goals on nine shots.
Megan Taylor had another solid outing, finishing the day with 9 saves and a .500 save percentage.
The Wildcats finish the regular season with a 9-8 record and a 4-2 record in Big Ten play. They will play Penn State in the Big Ten semi-final.
This win gives Maryland a perfect 17-0 regular season. They now head into the Big Ten Tournament, which they won last year by defeating Northwestern in the final 12-9.
The Terps will be the number one seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will open up postseason action next Friday in College Park against fourth seeded Johns Hopkins, whom they beated 17-4 earlier this season.
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