EVANSTON, Ill. – Sophomore attacker Caroline Steele scored a career-high six goals as the No. 1 Maryland women's lacrosse team (17-0, 6-0 B1G) defeated No. 15 Northwestern (9-8, 4-2) 18-9 Thursday evening.
With the win, the Terps completed the regular season undefeated for the third straight year and the 10th time in program history. Maryland also clinched the No. 1 seed in next week's Big Ten Tournment as the outright Big Ten regular season champions.
“I'm really proud of the team for coming in and playing hard in a physical game,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “It's great to finish the regular season on a high note, and now we get to start playoffs and we look forward to competing in the conference tournament next week.”
Steele also had an assist to tie her career high of seven points. Junior attacker Taylor Hensh also set a career high in points with six (4G, 2) and senior attacker Caroline Wannen contributed five points (4G, 1A). Senior midfielder Zoe Stukenberg and junior attacker Megan Whittle each had two goals and two assists.
Northwestern took a 2-1 lead 11 minutes into the game before three straight goals from Steele gave Maryland a 4-2 advantage at 12:12. Hensh scored back-to-back goals in the last five minutes and the Terps finished the half on a 4-1 run to take a 9-4 lead into halftime.
The Wildcats started the second half scoring, but Maryland countered with a 5-0 run, including two tallies each from Hensh and Steele. Wannen and Whittle notched Maryland's last four goals as the Terps finished the game, 18-9.
Maryland has won each Big Ten regular season title since the conference began sponsoring women's lacrosse in 2015. The Terps have never lost a regular-season Big Ten contest.
The Terps will host the Big Ten Tournament next weekend. Top-seeded Maryland will take on No. 4 Johns Hopkins at 6 p.m. Friday on the Big Ten Network. No. 2 Penn State and No. 3 Northwestern will compete in the second semifinal at 8:30 p.m.