Sixteen minutes elapsed before the Maryland women’s lacrosse team broke through against the immovable object. Two weeks removed from its last game — a fifth straight ACC championship — the Terrapins faced a methodically patient Stony Brook side bent on sucking the energy from a blustery afternoon in College Park. But once Maryland dusted off the rust, it quickly accelerated into overdrive.
The Seawolves stalled but rarely challenged Sunday in top-ranked Maryland’s 11-3 rout in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The Terrapins bulldozed into a quarterfinal matchup with ACC rival Duke on Saturday behind goals from six players, including four from midfielder Brooke Griffin.
In the teams’ prevous meeting, an 8-3 Terrapins road victory on March 17, Stony Brook was the only opponent to hold Maryland to single digits this season. Sunday, the nation’s top-ranked offense uncovered holes in Stony Brook’s defense, taking advantage of an exposed middle on set pieces and free-position opportunities. The Terrapins (20-0) sprinted to a 7-2 lead before seven minutes elapsed in the second half and cruised from there.
“I give [Stony Brook] a lot of credit,” Maryland Coach Cathy Reese said. “Their defense, it was something that challenged us offensively.
“I thought we turned the ball over a little too much, but other than that we worked the ball around, possessed it, found our openings and executed.”
Playing in just the second NCAA tournament game in program history after topping Towson, 8-6, in the first round on Friday, Stony Brook (17-3) took a 1-0 lead on midfielder Emily Mercier’s goal less than seven minutes into the game. With Coach Joe Spallina screaming “patience” on the sidelines, the Seawolves settled into their trench-warfare tactics, rotating passes around the perimeter and occasionally standing still altogether. Midfielder Demmianne Cook finished with two goals and 90 for the season, one short of tying the America East record.
A rotating zone defense, ranked first nationally in goals allowed per game, similarly clogged the gaps for Maryland’s attack.
“It’s hard to mimic it,” Reese said of practicing for Stony Brook’s defense. “It took us some time to settle in, and I think we were seeing things we thought were open that weren’t.
“But we did a much better job in the second half, once we could settle in and be a little smarter.”
Within a one-minute span, however, Maryland solved the puzzle and took the lead for good. Katie Schwarzmann, the ACC’s offensive player of the year, fired a no-doubt laser off a free-position opportunity with 13 minutes 25 seconds left.
Beth Glaros followed suit shortly thereafter, finding a seam in Stony Brook’s defense that made it 2-1.
“I think we just settled into our game and playing Maryland lacrosse,” said senior Alex Aust, who added two goals and two assists. I think we were focused a little too much on their D, letting them take us out of it.”
The visiting Cavaliers went on an 8-1 run spanning both halves to upend the sixth-seeded Hoyas, 10-8, in the second round.
Caroline McTiernan scored three goals and Casey Bocklet and Liza Blue added two apiece for unseeded Virginia (11-9), which plays at third-seeded North Carolina in Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Caroline Tarzian, Dina Jackson and Kelyn Freedman netted two goals each for Georgetown (13-6).
●DUKE 10, NAVY 5: Kelci Smesko and Taylor Trimble scored three goals apiece to spark the visiting Blue Devils (14-5) past the eighth-seeded Midshipmen.
Aimee Gennaro and Jill Coughlin scored twice each for the Midshipmen, who turned in the best record (19-2) in program history.