COLLEGE PARK, Md. – For the fourth consecutive year, the No. 3 Maryland women’s lacrosse team won the Big Ten Regular Season Title, with a 20-16 win over No. 7 Northwestern on Thursday night.
This season, in a winner take all showdown in College Park, Maryland used an offensive flurry, scoring 20 goals, to take down the Wildcats and hoist the trophy. The Terps are now 16-1 overall and finished the Big Ten regular season at 6-0.
“We were really excited to have it come down to this,” said head coach Cathy Reese. “Where you welcome Northwestern, a really tough team to College Park and have the opportunity to win the Big Ten Championship. I thought offensively we looked really good. It turned out to be a bit of a shootout there, there were a lot of goals scored today. But we did some really nice things offensively and we had some moments where we were really good defensively too. Megan Taylor came up with some big saves in the second half which was huge for us. We did a nice job on the draws, groundballs and the clears. That’s all stuff that’s good to see at this point in the season.”
Offensively, the Terps received contributions from all over, with five players recording hat-tricks. Junior midfielder Jen Giles tied a career-high with four goals, while also tallying two assists to lead the way with six points. Senior attacker Megan Whittle also posted four goals to move to 279 in her career.
Junior attacker Caroline Steele was right behind Giles with five points on three goals and two assists. Junior midfielder Meghan Siverson and sophomore attacker Brindi Griffin contributed with a hat-trick apiece as well. Giles, Whittle, Steele, Siverson and B. Griffin combined for 17 of the 20 Terrapin goals.
Maryland started quickly in the championship contest, scoring the first four goals, two unassisted by Whittle and Giles and two on free position by B. Griffin and Giles. The outburst continued throughout the first half as Maryland would go on to score 14 goals, tying the most they’ve ever scored in a Big Ten game. Giles had three, Whittle, Steele, B. Griffin and Siverson had two, while freshman midfielder Grace Griffin, sophomore midfielder Kali Hartshorn and senior attacker Taylor Hensh all helped with one. At halftime, Maryland doubled up Northwestern at 14-7.
In the second half, Northwestern cut it to four, scoring four of the first five goals of the half to make it 15-11. After a minor drought, Whittle snatched a groundball off a missed shot and fought off traffic to get the Terps offense back in groove. Steele then followed to put the Terps up back six, off a Hensh assist. Four of the Terps six second half goals were assisted, with Steele notching two.
The Terps won the draw control battle, 20-18, with Siverson leading the way with eight. Maryland only had nine turnovers to Northwestern’s 14, while grabbing 18 groundballs to the Wildcats 11.
In four years in the Big Ten, Maryland has never lost a regular season game, currently standing at 22-0.
Next weekend, the Terps will look to win their third consecutive Big Ten Tournament. This year’s tournament will take place at the University of Michigan, with the semifinals taking place on Friday, May 4 and the championship on Sunday, May 6. Maryland will be the No. 1 Seed and will take on the No. 4 seed, who is yet to be determined.