May 17, 2014

Terps Offense Leads Way Past Duke to Semifinals

by Megan Schneider | LaxMagazine.com | Live Blog Replay


Brooke Griffin and Kelly McPartland celebrate a goal in Maryland's 15-8 victory over Duke in the NCAA quarterfinals. Maryland finished undefeated at home for the 15th time in school history.

 

© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Backed by five goals from Tewaaraton finalist and sophomore midfielder Taylor Cummings, the No. 1 seed Maryland Terrapins advanced to the Final Four for the sixth straight year and 22nd time overall with a 15-8 victory over familiar ACC foe Duke, the only unseeded team left in the NCAA Tournament.

“We’re really excited to be sitting here today having earned a trip into the Final Four,” said Terps' coach Cathy Reese. “Give Duke a lot of credit. We knew this game was going to be tough playing against an ACC opponent and it was going to be hard-fought out there on the field.”

Maryland easily charged ahead in the first half, opening with a goal by senior Beth Glaros courtesy of an assist from Kelly McPartland, who docked a hat trick in the team’s 15th perfect season at home.

Five minutes later, senior Maddy Morrissey found the back of the net to get the Blue Devils on the board and tie the game.

But the Terps answered with two consecutive goals 19 seconds apart, one each for Cummings and Erin Collins. From her favorite position behind the net, Brooke Griffin assisted Collins for the quick stick shot.

Duke’s Brigid Smith then made it a one-goal game before Kristen Lamon, Glaros and Cummings combined for three goals in less than two minutes to catapult the Terps to a four-goal advantage.

Kerrin Maurer scored Duke’s third goal at the 15:24 mark, but Zoe Stukenberg, Griffin and McPartland fueled a 3-0 run for the Terps in the final three minutes of the half to take a 9-3 lead.

To kickstart the second half, Cummings posted back-to-back goals in the first two minutes, followed by a goal by McPartland to extend the lead to 12-3.

“We came out of halftime with a lot of fire,” said Cummings. “We knew that it wasn’t over yet and that Duke was going to come out ready to go. I think we did a great job setting the tone for the second half really early getting a couple of quick goals. I think we told them that you’re going to have to beat us and it’s going to be tough.”

The Blue Devils continued to battle. Chelsea Landon and Maurer combined for two goals five minutes apart, but the momentum was lost, broken up by none other than the Terps’ star player Cummings along with McPartland, each netting an unassisted goal.

“The beginning of the second half was tough,” said Duke coach Kerstin Kimel. “That’s what Maryland does. To their credit, they’re just so fast and so quick. We never put ourselves in a good position to create any momentum. Even after we scored, we didn’t necessarily win the next draw or make a stop defensively. You have to be able to do something to gain momentum in a game and we struggled with that today.”

The Blue Devils managed to outscore the Terps in the final 15:15 of the game 3-1 with two goals from Smith and one from Maurer. Their defense was on point with sophomore goalie Kelsey Duryea making some key interceptions outside the crease.

“They started to take us out of our rhythm a little bit in the second half and we had to regroup in a timeout and just make sure that we were being confident and poised,” said Reese. “I thought we turned the ball over a little too much in the second half and that was caused by a lot of their pressure too. But we pulled it together. We hung on and made some big stops defensively, cleared the ball successfully and that was huge for us.”

The Blue Devils improved in the second half, scoring five and holding Maryland to six. But a one-goal half failed to compensate for the first half blowout.

“I think this is a hard place to play without a doubt,” said Kimel after coaching in front of 1,012 fans in the stands that overflowed into standing room only sections at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex. “This is one of the best home-field advantages in our sport. Clearly Maryland played great today. Kudos to them. They are an excellent team. Truthfully, we were happy to be in the tournament. We were happy we had two really good wins on the road last weekend against two good opponents.”

Duke peaked just a little too late, handing Maryland another trip to the Final Four and repeating their 2013 quarterfinals when the Terps downed Duke 14-9.

“I’m really proud of our players, how we stepped up today, rose to the challenge and put us in the position to be able to play next weekend,” said Reese, who will be hoping for her second NCAA title as head coach for the Terps.

Maryland will be heading to Johnny Unitas Stadium at Towson University to face seven-time NCAA Tournament champion Northwestern, coached by Maryland alum Kelly Amonte Hiller. In a rematch of the ALC championship game after losing twice to them already this year, the Wildcats edged conference champion Florida 12-11 in overtime.

Certainly, the Terps won’t make it an easy game for Northwestern in a rematch of the 2010 NCAA title game when Maryland won 13-11. That sentiment rings true especially for Glaros, who tallied three goals, one assist and six draw controls in today’s matchup.

“It’s hard never knowing which game is your last so we just want to make the most of it,” said Glaros as she started to tear up during the postgame press conference.

“This is a really powerful moment to be able to sit here and know that as a senior captain for us, she’s taking our team to the Final Four,” chimed in Reese as Glaros’ emotions took over.


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