Maryland players celebrate with their team
Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No.9 Maryland women’s lacrosse withstands rain delay, dominates Penn State, 13-6

With the offense ice cold in the second half, the Terps turned to their offensive leader to put the game out of reach.

With a four-goal lead and 10 minutes to play, graduate student Aurora Cordingley scored two goals in under two minutes, putting Penn State away for good.

On a wet and cool night in College Park, Cordingley dominated, netting five goals and leading Maryland to a conference victory over Penn State, 13-6.

“Really good win for us tonight,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “We had a little weather delay in the beginning, but I thought we came out strong.”

Delayed due to thunderstorms, both teams had limited time to get loose for the game. Maryland appeared to have no issue with the circumstances, as Eloise Clevenger made a nifty move from behind and scored on the Terps’ first possession.

The Terps couldn’t celebrate for long. Less than 30 seconds later, Penn State’s Taylor Regan scored the equalizer following their draw control win.

Maryland responded quickly and fiercely. Following the Nittany Lions’ goal, Kate Sites and Cordingley scored on back-to-back possessions, giving Maryland a two-goal lead in a snap.

“I think we were just ready to play tonight,” Reese said. “I’m proud of how they handled [the conditions].”

The wet turf made a noticeable difference in Maryland’s offensive play. When the Terps attempted to attack the goal, the slick surface made it difficult to maneuver with the ball. 

The Terps instead focused on a more passing-oriented offense. At first Maryland struggled to adjust, picking up a shot-clock violation during the first quarter.

“I think a lot of it came from what style of defense they were playing us in,” Reese said. “When they’re in a zone, you’re seeing more passes. When they came out of it, we had a few more isolations.”

With 1:25 left in the first, Victoria Hensh got a golden opportunity on a free-position look following a Penn State three-second violation. Hensh buried the shot, extending Maryland’s lead to three. Regan found the net again for Penn State to cut the lead to two, but Maryland led 4-2 after one.

Less than a minute into the second quarter, Clevenger notched her second goal and extended Maryland’s lead.

“I think the offense did a great job of moving the ball and keeping our heads up,” Clevenger said. 

On a woman-up opportunity, Jordyn Lipkin found the back of the net, but Penn State responded with a goal of their own just 20 seconds later.

Maryland finally strung together some possessions.

First, on a free-position shot, Grace Griffin got tripped. Although a foul was called, Griffin’s shot stayed alive. The floating shot bounced off the helmet of goalie Ashley Bowan and trickled into the net. The wild goal extended Maryland’s lead to four goals midway through the second.

Two possessions later, Cordingley scored a tough shot on the run following a forced turnover on the other end by Brianna Lamoureux.

With two minutes remaining in the half, Penn State got a much-needed goal. Brooke Hoss’ scored for the Nittany Lions, and cut into Maryland’s growing lead. 

At the half, Maryland led 8-4.

The Terps picked up where they left off in the second half. Following another goal from Cordingley, Abby Bosco made a remarkable defensive play, intercepting the Nittany Lions’ pass from behind. On Penn State’s next possession, Maryland’s defense continued to dominate, forcing a shot-clock violation.

“I think defensively, our main focus against their offense was to make sure our slides got to where they needed to be,” Reese said.

Maryland’s offense struggled for most of the third quarter. Although the Terps got multiple decent looks, Bowan put up a valiant effort in the cage—stuffing two Maryland close-ranged shots.

With 3:15 left in the third, Penn State’s Gretchen Gilmore finally broke the ice for the Nittany Lions’ offense.

As the third concluded, Maryland was still scoreless since the quarter’s first minute. Bowan’s save total was up to ten after a stellar third quarter.

At the beginning of the fourth, Maryland goalie Emily Sterling put the team on her back.

On two free-position attempts for Penn State, Sterling blocked three shots—one of them a remarkable kick-save.

“In goal, Emily was phenomenal. I mean, she was out of her mind making really great saves,” Reese said.

With the offense gone cold, Sterling’s saves were huge for the Terps.

“It comes down to maturing as a team,” Sterling said. “Obviously things weren’t really going our way right there. We never want to give up eight-meters like that, but being able to maintain our ground and stick to what we know…All that matters is the play that’s about to happen right now.”

After being held scoreless for almost 17 minutes, Maryland finally made a play in transition. On the clear, Maryland pushed the ball quickly,  leading to Cordingley sitting wide-open in front of the goal. Cordingley finished with ease, ending Maryland’s drought.

Cordingley then scored her fifth a minute later.

From then on out, the Terps played slow and protected their lead. The clear became an important play every single time due to the aggressive ride by Penn State.

Maryland was excellent on the clear all night long, going a perfect 19-19.

“I think clearing is a big focus of ours,” Clevenger said. “I think our defense did a good job of moving the ball.”

Maryland added a couple more scores, as they cruised their way into 11-1.

With a below-average second half offensively for Maryland, the defense came through, stymying Penn State’s offense to only two second-half goals. Sterling finished the day with a career-high 13 saves.

“I think it was just having confidence in my training at this point,” Sterling said. “When we get to games, everything is second nature.”

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