Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics
The No. 1 Maryland Terrapins dominated the High Point Panthers on Sunday afternoon, defeating them 21-6 to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament next weekend.
Leading goal scorer for the Terps, Megan Whittle, had another dominant performance, recording a hat trick within the first 12 minutes and totalling five goals on the day.
Kacie Longo finished with four goals ,and Zoe Stukenberg and Jen Giles each notched hat tricks for the Terps.
The Terps came out fast, aggressive, and effective. They were swarming all over the field, checking sticks, playing solid defense, and getting great offensive looks.
They jumped out to a 7-0 lead before Emory Gaeng of High Point scored the first goal for the Panthers over 16 minutes into the game.
Maryland’s defense put together another strong performance after one of their best showings last Sunday against Northwestern. They were able to shut down an offense that came into the game averaging 16.2 goals per game, fourth best in the nation.
The Panthers barely had any space to work with, as the Terps’ man-to-man defense was suffocating at times. Tewaaraton award finalist Nadine Hadnagy shut down High Point’s top scorer, Samantha Brown, who finished the game with just one assist.
“Nadine is an outstanding one-on-one defender. Simply put, she’s awesome,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “We were good at getting where we needed to be. We picked up the first cutter that was going through and tried to make it a little harder for them to get looks inside.”
Megan Taylor played a solid first half, finishing with four saves and only two goals allowed, before being pulled out of the game after the first half due to the blowout as the Terps were up 12-2 at halftime, putting the running clock on the Panthers as they were up by 10 goals.
Emily Kift finished with three goals allowed and a save before she was eventually replaced by junior goalie Emma Moss late in the second half.
It was that kind of day for the Terps as every single starter was replaced in the second half, allowing a lot of bench players to get some quality playing time, including Longo, whose four goals were her career high.
The Terps offense was aggressive all game against the High Point zone defense. They were attacking downhill, making strong cuts and moves towards the crease. Most of their goals came from close range and High Point had no answers all game long for the skill and finishing ability of the Terps’ attackers.
“It was an interesting look,” Zoe Stukenberg said about the Panthers’ zone. We’ve been playing all season against zones like that. I think the key to that is just moving the ball, keeping your feet moving, keeping your head up, and everyone being dangerous.”
This win moves Maryland to 20-0 on the season and moves them one step closer to their ultimate goal of winning a third national championship in four years.
The Terps will host Stony Brook in College Park next Saturday at noon for the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
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