Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Lady Terps too much for Minutewomen

By Holly J. Galvin, Collegian Staff

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The heavy underdog Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team had little to lose on its trip through Title Town, but it better have taken notes after rubbing elbows with the sport’s most storied Division I program.

Friday in College Park, a strong defensive first half by the Minutewomen wasn’t enough to slow down undefeated No. 6 Maryland in a 16-4 loss.

During a game in which UMass (0-2) controlled possession for most of the opening play, halftime might’ve been the Minutewomen’s worst enemy.

Finishing with an overall deficit of two draw controls (11-9) and trailing the Lady Terrapins (2-0) by two goals at the half, the Minutewomen gave up seven unanswered goals immediately after the break.

Senior captain Holly Drown gave UMass a spark when she tied the score, 1-1, with an unassisted blast during the first 15 minutes of play. However, goals by Drown (one goal, one assist), Merritt Cosgrove, Haley Smith and Brittany Brigandi were not enough offensive muscle to overcome a top-10 team.

The eight-time national champion Terrapins outshot UMass 27-10. Junior Maryland attacker Caitlyn McFadden nearly outshot the entire Minutewomen squad and scored almost half of the Lady Terps’ 16 goals. The junior captain finished with nine shots, putting seven in the back of the net.

In fact it was McFadden, a 2008 second team All-American, who kick-started the blowout when she scored back-to-back goals shortly after Drown’s first-half equalizer. It was smooth sailing from there for Maryland, who lost just once in College Park last season.

Despite UMass veteran Cosgrove capitalizing on a free position shot with 22 seconds remaining in the opening period to tighten the score at 4-2, the Terps came out of the locker room outscored UMass 12-2.

Maryland‘s late onslaught showcased the current offensive gap between the nation’s elite and the young UMass attack, which has notched fewer goals in two full games (11) than the amount Maryland scored in the second half of Friday’s contest.

Nevertheless, the overmatched Minutewomen wouldn’t leave without a fight. It took a little underclassmen boost to stop the second-half bleeding, when sophomore Smith scored with 6:29 remaining. Smith was assisted by goalie Katie Florence (16 GA, 6 saves) before Brigandi rounded out the Minutewomen’s scoring efforts with a little more than a minute remaining.

UMD captain McFadden and her Maryland teammates then decided they still had 107 seconds to give UMass a proper tour of College Park, and McFadden scored twice more before the final whistle.

In the weeks to come, fans will have to hope second-half collapses aren’t becoming a trend for the Minutewomen. UMass coach Alexis Venechanos’s squad has surrendered 62 percent of its total goals-against in the second half so far this season.

The away game experience at Maryland, however sour, should serve as an appropriate tune-up for an upcoming two-game stint in Boston.

Through March, Venechanos’ squad is set to play road games at No. 10 Boston University and No. 14 New Hampshire before taking on the nation’s top team, No. 1 ranked Northwestern, under the lights at McGuirk Alumni Stadium on March 25.

In a preseason interview, Venechanos indicated the Minutewomen would not back down.

‘Hopefully this year we’re able to sort of knock off those ranked teams out of conference,’ she said.’ ‘We’re looking forward to playing the competition and knocking them off.’

Holly J. Galvin can be reached at [email protected]

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