Maryland women top Navy, 19-6, in NCAA lacrosse tournament
By Christian Swezey,
The bye week on May 8 for the Maryland women’s lacrosse team was built into the schedule. The breather that many of its starters received for much of the second half of a 19-6 victory over Navy in an NCAA tournament first-round game Saturday in College Park was the result of a remarkable start.
Senior Sarah Mollison had four goals and four assists — all in the first 30 minutes 18 seconds — and classmate Laura Merrifield added all three of her goals in the first half for the Terrapins.
Top-seeded Maryland (19-1), the defending national champions, will face Princeton on May 22 at noon in College Park. Princeton defeated No. 8 James Madison, 11-10.
Navy Coach Cindy Timchal said her team’s game plan was to not give up any fast-break goals. Ten seconds into the game, Merrifield had a point-blank shot. It was saved by sophomore goalkeeper Michelle Verbeeck.
But the Terrapins scored on their next four shots, culminating in a goal in transition by Mollison for a 4-0 lead. To that point, 3 minutes 15 seconds had elapsed. And Navy had no shots and three turnovers.
“We got off to a slow start and it really hurt us,” Timchal said. “I want to credit the number one team in the country, which is Maryland. They truly were spectacular, particularly early.”
The Midshipmen (15-6) closed to 4-1 on a goal by freshman Aimee Gennaro. But the Terrapins scored on seven of their next 10 shots and led 11-2 following a goal by Mollison, on an assist by sophomore Katie Schwarzmann, with 7:17 left in the first half.
Schwarzmann finished with two goals and three assists and junior Kristy Black added three goals, an assist and three draw controls. Meantime, redshirt senior Katie Gallagher primarily guarded sophomore Jasmine DePompeo, Navy’s leading scorer. DePompeo went 1 for 6 shooting and did not take a shot until her team trailed 11-2.
Sophomore Kathy Young led Navy with three goals.
The bye week came at both a good and bad time for Maryland. Coach Cathy Reese said the week off helped players heal nagging injuries.
But in its regular season finale on May 1, Maryland lost to Dartmouth in double overtime, 9-8. It snapped Maryland’s 28-game winning streak.
“If you looked at our last game against Dartmouth we were 8 for 28 shooting,” Reese said. “Today we were 19 for 26. So that was one area we spent some time on.”
The Navy program is in its fourth year and has advanced to the NCAA tournament twice. As the game ended yesterday, Navy senior Ashley Fischer grabbed an American flag and led the team on a lap around the field while fans of both teams and the Maryland players stopped and gave a standing ovation.
“It’s been a really special experience,” said Navy senior Caitlin Mandrin Hill, a four-year starter. “When I came in, we were basically run by freshmen. . . . Cindy has just taken it and it has grown. She sees the potential in every single player.”
Timchal also has a special relationship with Maryland. She won eight national titles while coaching there, including seven in a row. Among her former players are Reese and two of Reese’s assistants.
Timchal also had started the recruiting process for Mollison, Merrifield and Gallagher. During pregame introductions, all three ran to Navy’s sideline and shook Timchal’s hand after being introduced.
“For me, that’s who I’ve learned from,” Reese said. “It’s different being on the opposite side from her in a game.”
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