Overcoming their largest deficit of the season, the No. 2 Maryland women’s lacrosse defeated No. 19 Princeton, 11-10, as junior attacker Caroline Steele led the Terps (13-1, 3-0) in a second half comeback win over the Tigers (6-5, 2-1).
Steele finished the game with a hat trick, and her two straight goals in the second half spurred the Terps into action to cut the lead Princeton held for the majority of the game. Senior captain Taylor Hensh scored two free position goals late in the second half, including the game-winner with 46 seconds to go. Megan Whittle was also crucial in the Terps’ comeback, as the senior attacker scored a hat trick while also making history.
Whittle’s third goal of the game not only cut the Princeton lead to three in the second half but also was her 267th career goal, tying the all-time scoring record set by Jen Adams.
Whittle started the scoring for the Terps on a free position shot, but the Tigers quickly struck back to even the score at one apiece after freshman midfielder Elizabeth George scored her first of three on the night. George’s hat trick came after a career-high five goals in the Tigers’ 20-15 win against Harvard.
The Tigers and Terps swapped scores to bring the score to 2-2, but the Tigers went on a three-goal run with freshman and leading-scorer Kyla Sears earning her first and George recording her second.
Sears scored two on the night but was unable to play the entire second half after being suspended from the game with two first-half yellow cards.
Though Steele was able to halt the Tigers’ scoring temporarily, junior goalie Megan Taylor and the Terps defense were unable to slow the attack from Princeton. Taylor, the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, recorded 12 saves against Princeton, just one short of tying her season-high.
Princeton’s Kathryn Hallett scored on a free position shot with just under 11 minutes in the first half, and the Terps found themselves in an unfamiliar position. Down 7-3, the Terps were trailing by four, the most goals that the team had been down at any point this season thus far.
Coming out of halftime, the Tigers held their 7-3 lead for a large portion of the second half, as neither team seemed able to finish a shot, until senior Ellie McNulty scored for the Tigers ten minutes into the second halftime.
Then came Whittle and Steele storming back, leading the way for freshman midfielder Grace Griffin, who scored crucial back-to-back goals to tie the Tigers 9-9 and erased a lead that Princeton held since early in the first half.
The Terps struggled in the first half at the draw circle, but sophomore attacker Kali Hartshorn played a pivotal part in the Terps’ second half comeback, with nine draw controls.
Hensh scored her first free position goal with 3:45 left in the game to give Maryland a 10-9 lead, but Princeton answered right back with George’s third goal of the night coming less than two minutes to go in the half.
But Hensh fired back, scoring a second goal from the eight-meter arc to give the Terps a one-goal lead that would sustain until time ran out on the clock.
Following their gritty win against last year’s Ivy League conference championship, the Terps will take on Ohio State in a Big Ten road matchup on Sunday at noon.
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