It was unfamiliar territory for No. 2 Maryland (14-0, 4-0 B1G) trailing within the first minute of the game, but the Terps bounced back in a big way-en route to the resounding 14-3 victory over No. 7 Michigan (13-1, 3-1 B1G). After the Wolverines scored the opening goal, Maryland scored the next nine leading 9-1 early in the second half on a meaningful senior day in College Park.
“We just needed to get in our groove, once that happened we started to kind of take an extra second and put the ball around their keeper who moves a lot,” head coach Cathy Reese said.
Exemplifying class as always, Reese started all 10 of her seniors eight of whom are regular starters. Senior midfielder Jen Giles stole the show with five points, four goals and an assist leaving the Wolverines defense without a solution to stop her.
“Jen is the best person I have ever known, she is one of those people you just want to be around,” senior goalie Megan Taylor said. “I thought today the team was really aggressive and we figured out how to spread them wide, everyone was really working for each other and communicating,” Giles said.
It was a physical game starting from the first draw, Michigan finished with 20 fouls- seven of which resulted in yellow cards. Both teams played with the same consistency from the first whistle to the last, despite the lopsided score line.
Sophomore midfielder Maggie Kane dodged down the lefty alley around midfielder Erica Evans and rifled the shot into the top left corner giving the Wolverines the lead. Maryland was getting shots on net early on, but senior goalie Maddie Shane stood tall with several saves in the first few minutes. With 18:24 remaining in the first half, senior attacker Caroline Steele put Maryland on the board after executing an alley dodge to create space rifling the diving shot top shelf.
“When another team scores, you can’t keep reflecting on that and keeping that in your head,” Giles said. “I think that just making sure everyone’s head is up and still ready to work hard the next play.”
Building off of Steele’s goal, senior midfielder Jen Giles scored her first of four goals on the day using her elite dodging ability to finish the lefty shot past Shane. Shortly after, Giles fit a pass into a microscopic window to sophomore midfielder Grace Griffin who patiently waited shot faked and finished past Shane. Griffin continued her offensive success 24 seconds later, using a pure speed dodge and several stick fakes to fire the shot into the back of the net.
Each of the next three Maryland goals were executed in the same way, Terps attackers winning their individual matchups leaving an easy path to the cage. Giles, sophomore attacker Catie May and Evans each used a unique dodge to create separation and create a clear path to the cage.
“Jen is such a good dodger and a good shooter that when you give her space and room, she’s able to create a lot of opportunities,” Reese said.
However, the highlight goal of the first half came off the stick of junior attacker Kali Hartshorn, who caught a pass from Steele and rifled a backhand shot into the net all in motion. All eight Maryland goals in the first half were a result of the attackers and midfielders utilizing their speed and vision to find openings. Despite Shane getting off to a strong start, the Maryland offense changed the angles and placements of their shots making it very difficult for her to detect them.
While the Maryland offense was outstanding in the first half, so was the defense forcing the Wolverines into tough angle shots and leaving them very little open space. The defensive communication was once again outstanding throughout with each player knowing their assignment and backing up a teammate on a miscommunication. As has been the common theme throughout the season when the Wolverines found space, senior goalie Megan Taylor was up to the task with five first half saves.
“I think we trust each other a lot and have each other’s backs, if I miss communication the girl behind is going to have it,” senior defender Julia Braig said. “I think we’re loud and we’re honest with each other.”
Giles continued her dominance into the second half, with the opening goal for Maryland extending the goal run to nine. Michigan finally ended the slightly over 30 minute drought junior midfielder Molly Garrett scored, trying to reinvigorate some energy into the Wolverines roster.
Junior attacker Brindi Griffin, Giles and Evans each tacked on another goal catapulting the Maryland lead to ten seemingly ending the hopes of a Wolverine comeback. Junior midfielder Nadine Stewart added one more goal to the Wolverines, while Griffin and junior midfielder Hannah Warther each added another goal completing the well rounded 60 minute affair.
Maryland will now take on its 10th ranked opponent of the season the No. 6 Northwestern Wildcats on the road in Evanston on Thursday.
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