Terpitude: Maryland Makes Statement with Win over Duke
Karri Ellen Johnson scored five goals Saturday in Maryland's 18-11 victory over Duke. "We love a fast pace," she said afterward.
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- It was a tale of two halves Saturday, as No. 1-ranked Maryland women's lacrosse team defeated No. 3-ranked Duke, 18-11, at the Maryland Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.
Late in the first half, after five ties and two lead changes, the Terps (4-0) kicked off a 7-1 run that extended into the second half and sealed a statement win over their first ranked opponent of the 2011 season. Junior midfielder Karri Ellen Johnson led all scorers with five goals and an assist. Sophomore Katie Schwarzmann also contributed five goals for the defending national champions.
"It was all about the draw controls and being smart with the ball, knowing when to risk it and knowing when to be smart and hold the ball," Johnson said. "We love a fast pace. We're known for our fast breaks. That's what we practice. That's what we like to push. We thrive in that environment."
Maryland jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Schwarzmann and senior Sarah Mollison (3g, 2a), but Duke responded with three goals of its own to go up 3-2 at 20:23. The Blue Devils (3-1) hung with Maryland for a half, exchanging goals and using Emma Hamm (3g, 2a) and Kat Thomas (2g) to remain competitive against Johnson, one of the nation's top draw specialists.
With the score tied at 7 with less than a minute to play in the first half, Maryland got goals from Kristy Black (1g, 1a) and Schwarzmann just 28 seconds apart to take a 9-7 halftime lead and never looked back.
"That's what's fun about this team and the game of lacrosse – goals can be scored really quickly. We finished out the first half tremendously. That's the momentum this offense can create," said Terps head coach Cathy Reese.
In the second half, Duke struggled in transition and seemed rattled by the Terps' climbing score. The Blue Devils made unforced errors and got chippy on defense, drawing three yellow cards.
Duke technically had the edge on draws, 16-15, but did a poor job of capitalizing on those chances, often turning over possession between the lines before it was able to generate offensive opportunities.
"Our girls in the second half certainly, offensively, did not play with the same kind of rhythm they played with in the first half. We let [Maryland] come out in the second half and go," said Duke head coach Kerstin Kimel. "We have been a very good ball-handling team, and a couple of kids made some uncharacteristic mistakes. It's February, and we have a lot of the season left. I think we are maybe better than what the score showed."
The Maryland-Duke game is traditionally rough on goalies – the two teams have averaged a combined 23 goals in their last five meetings. Today's meeting was no execption. The Blue Devils keeper, junior Mollie Mackler, started the game and made five saves in 41:44 before Kimel pulled her in favor of sophomore Kaitlin Gaiss, who finished with one save and four goals allowed. Maryland goalie Brittany Dipper finished with five saves.
"People were turned off a little on the re-dodge, but we got some cutters in there," Hamm said. "Maryland earned it today, but I think what we lost out there was in our control, so we have to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Following their successful two-game homestand, the Terps will travel to Virginia next week to attempt to extend their four-game winning streak. It has been 10 years since Maryland had the national championship target on its back, but the 2011 players seem to handle the challenge with aplomb.
"We have to focus on us and have the confidence to know we're No. 1 for a reason," Johnson said. "We know that each team, no matter who we're playing, is going to come out fighting. We can't just step out onto the field with Maryland on our jerseys. We have to fight as well."