April 3, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Sophomore Laura Merrifield erupted for eight goals, including seven in the first half, to lift the No. 2 Maryland women's lacrosse team to a 20-12 win against No. 18 Penn State at the 2009 ACC/ALC Challenge on the campus of The Ohio State University.
Merrifield began her career day with a pair of goals in the first minute of the game. Penn State got on the board with an Erica Mihm goal to cut the lead in half, but the rally was short-lived. Maryland (12-0, 3-0 ACC) exploded for seven unanswered scores including two more from Merrifield. The Nittany Lions stopped the run around the 17-minute mark with a 3-0 scamper only to be impeded with a pair of goals from Terp freshman Karri Ellen Johnson and Kristy Black.
Penn State rallied for another 3-0 run but Merrifield stopped that drive with a goal at 9:20 to cushion the Maryland lead to five. After another Penn State score, Merrifield continued her magical half with two additional goals in the final minute to push the score to 14-8 at the end of the period.
Sarah Mollison kept the momentum rolling out of the half with a goal in the opening seconds of the second stanza. Two free position goals by the Nittany Lions later, Amanda Spinnenweber picked up one of Mollison's four assists of the game to move the Terrapin lead back to six. The Terps continued to dominate to end the game, outscoring Penn State, 4-2, in the final 20 minutes of play, highlighted by two goals from Caitlyn McFadden.
With its 12th victory on the year, Maryland is now in the midst of its finest start since the squad went undefeated en route to a national championship in 2001. The win is Maryland's eighth against a ranked opponent this season. The Terps will look to make it 9-0 against the top teams in the country on Sunday when they battle host-Ohio State, who enters the contest ranked 14th, at 1:30 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.