COLLEGE PARK – Freshman midfielder Kali Hartshorn and junior attacker Megan Whittle scored four goals each as the top-ranked Maryland women’s lacrosse team stayed undefeated with an 18-9 victory over Ohio State in their final regular season home game.
The Lady Terrapins (15-0) pounced often offensively, finishing the game with 45 shots. Despite the high volume of shots, they couldn’t convert many of those opportunities into goals. Maryland missed four of its seven free-position shots and hit the crossbar three times in the first period.
“I felt like we were hitting the pipe every other shot,” Maryland Head Coach Cathy Reese said. “It was just one of those days. We generated a lot of looks offensively, which is great, but I thought their goalie played well.
“We also weren’t so great on the draw. We need to do a better job on the draw and start fighting for the ball on the 30s more.”
While Maryland was an offensive juggernaut for the whole game, Ohio State (6-10) got on the board first, five minutes into the first period, after freshman midfielder Sage Darling scored her first of three goals after sneaking a fast shot between Terps goaltender Emily Kift’s legs.
Whittle responded less than a minute later, scoring two quick goals, including one off a free-position shot. Her production continued throughout the rest of the period, finishing off her hat trick before the halfway mark. She then slammed a fourth goal into the right corner of the Ohio State net for her team-leading 50th goal of the season.
Goals continued to come in bunches for Maryland throughout the game as the scoreboard went into double-digits before halftime. Hartshorn scored her first of four goals after receiving a pass from sophomore Jen Giles, quickly pivoting around the defender before taking a jump shot that zoomed past Ohio State goaltender Jill Rizzo.
Senior attacker Caroline Wannen scored with less than two minutes remaining, giving Maryland an 11-4 lead. The Silver Spring native collected five points with two goals and three assists in the game. With 51 total points this season, the most in her college lacrosse career, Wannen is seen as the offensive leader Maryland needs to excel come tournament time.
“Wannen is absolutely crucial to our offense and I think everyone has caught on to that,” fellow senior Zoe Stukenberg said. “She’s our quarterback and she just does a fabulous job of keeping us calm, keeping us moving and getting us into different sets. She has fabulous vision and it has been very special to play with her and watch her grow over the years.”
Maryland struggled to get its offense in gear after the break, going scoreless for the first 10 minutes. Rizzo improved in the net, collecting five of her final 13 saves during the Maryland drought. After being shut out in the first half, sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Maring scored two goals, keeping the Buckeyes in contention for a comeback.
However, Hartshorn scored three of her final four goals within two minutes in the second period, ultimately ending any comeback hopes.
The result capped off a senior day celebration with 1,964 spectators at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex. Nine players were honored for being a part of two national championship teams during their four years at the university.
“They are all each fantastic women and it has been so cool to be a part of their journey through their four years at Maryland,” Reese said. “Each of them has a different role on our team. They are all such good people, very passionate and had a huge impact on this class, on this team, and this program’s success for the last four years.”
Despite the applause and gifts received, the season is not finished. Maryland still has a big rivalry game against No. 6 Penn State on April 20 and the season finale at Northwestern on April 27 before starting conference and national tournament play.
“The past four years have been the best years of my life and lacrosse has made that so much better,” Wannen said. “It was pretty emotional but we know we are not done yet. We will be back on our field for the Big Ten (Tournament) so it will be pretty exciting.”
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