No. 1 Maryland blitzes Rutgers for 18 goals in blowout win
An upset for the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team will have to wait another week.
The Scarlet Knights (3-10, 0-2) hung on for as long as they could before losing 18-3 to No. 1 ranked Maryland (12-0, 2-0) in a game where the Terrapins continuously proved themselves as the best team in the Big Ten.
The Knights opened the first seven minutes of play giving Maryland a tightly contested battle while keeping the Terrapins off the scoreboard for a significant chunk of the first half.
Rutgers could only postpone an inevitable scoring outburst from Maryland for so long before the flood gates would finally open in route to an 18-3 Terrapins victory.
Senior attacker Halley Barnes had unlimited praise for her team’s defense, noting the ability they showed on Saturday is something the Knights can carry into their remaining games to have success.
The Garnett Valley, Pennsylvania, native said the way her team’s defense came together and shut down some of the best players for the first seven minutes was unbelievable.
She said the start that Rutgers got off to against Maryland was a reflection of how the team has recently focused on not falling behind early in games.
“To show ourselves that we can do it against a team like Maryland, it’s kind of like why haven’t we been doing this all season, but it’s also — we’re going to do this for the rest of the season,” Barnes said.
The first seven minutes of the game were short lived by Rutgers, though, as Maryland’s onslaught of scoring began with a free-position goal.
From there, the Terrapins dictated the first half in a dominate showing from their cohesive offensive unit. Maryland sparked a 9-goal run in which five different players scored for the Terrapins.
Rutgers was able to stop Maryland’s blitz of scores midway through the first half, when junior attacker Amanda Turturro scored her eighth goal of the season.
Head coach Laura Brand-Sias said the Terrapins speed played a huge factor in the difficulty the Knights faced, but she was not disappointed in the effort of her team trying to limit Maryland’s opportunities.
“I think we did a decent job," Brand-Sias said. "I mean we weren’t giving up any crazy fast breaks. We were getting in and recovering even if they were getting steps on us."
With the two teams significantly separated on the scoreboard heading into the second half, the Terrapins had no plan of slowing down. Maryland ran the score up once again, scoring another 6 consecutive goals, officially ending the Knights’ chances of making a comeback.
Rutgers showed one more instance of its good character when junior midfielder Kristina Dunphey scored her second goal of the game, as the Knights huddled together one more time to try and give one more final push.
The Terrapins had no interest in letting the Knights have a strong finish though, as Maryland would score the game’s final goal with less than two minutes left, adding a little more salt to Rutgers wound.
Brand-Sias, knowing that Maryland would be an extreme challenge for her team to take on, was thrilled her with sophomore goaltender Bianca Dente’s strong showing, despite the number of goals allowed.
“It was nice to see Bianca get a good solid game with 14 saves,” Brand-Sias said of Dente. “I think defensively a lot of the shots that she was seeing, the (defense) did a good job of cutting down angles and then she had one-v-nones that she stepped up and made good saves.”
Dente’s 14 saves on the night marked a career-high for her, as she battled for the entirety of her time in net against the Terrapins before being replaced midway through the second half by freshman Devon Kearns.
Dunphey’s two scores in the game leaves her with a team-high 30 goals and 37 points on the season.
Rutgers will have an entire week off to reflect on its loss to the No. 1 ranked team before being back in action against No. 13 Northwestern in Illinois on Sunday.
Barnes said the Knights’ physical preparation will continue to remain the same, but with that said, she believes her team’s mental preparation will be key moving forward.
“I think at this point it’s all mental and I think that it’s just how we mentally prepare for games rather than physically,” the Knights’ captain said. “I think that the mental preparation and the things that we did before this game really need to carry over to the Northwestern game.”
For updates on the Rutgers women's lacrosse team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.