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Lacrosse: Northwestern hammered by Maryland in regular season finale

Shelby+Fredericks+is+swarmed+by+two+defenders.+The+junior+attacker+and+the+Wildcats+were+no+match+for+No.+1+Maryland+in+an+ugly+loss+Thursday+night.
Shelby Fredericks is swarmed by two defenders. The junior attacker and the Wildcats were no match for No. 1 Maryland in an ugly loss Thursday night.

Shelby Fredericks is swarmed by two defenders. The junior attacker and the Wildcats were no match for No. 1 Maryland in an ugly loss Thursday night.

Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

Shelby Fredericks is swarmed by two defenders. The junior attacker and the Wildcats were no match for No. 1 Maryland in an ugly loss Thursday night.

Ben Pope, Assistant Sports Editor

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Lacrosse


Northwestern’s plan to neutralize top-ranked Maryland worked for 15 minutes.

Then it didn’t.

The No. 1 Terrapins (17-0, 6-0 Big Ten) quickly recovered from a slow start to put the game essentially away by halftime, rolling to an 18-9 win over the No. 14 Wildcats (9-8, 4-2 Big Ten) on Thursday night at Martin Stadium.

“Every time Maryland surged, we would do something bigger than we needed to … whether it was a yellow card, a bad shot or just trying to take it on themselves one person at a time rather than playing as a team,” coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said. “I don’t think it was confidence; it was just keeping their heads.”

Junior attacker Nicole Beardsley set a career high with 4 goals for NU, and senior attacker Danita Stroup added 3 of her own. Sophomore goaltender Mallory Weisse made seven saves.

Their efforts were thoroughly overshadowed by Maryland, however, which got 6 goals from attacker Caroline Steele, 4 more from attacker Caroline Wannen and nine saves — including several of great difficulty — from goaltender Megan Taylor.

“I don’t think it was a question of us having enough skills,” said sophomore defender Claire Quinn. “We had a lot of energy, but when they started going on their run, we got a little startled, and that’s what put us back.”

The Cats’ strategy proved effective early on, aggressively stick-checking on defensive possessions, subbing in and running plays through sophomore attacker Liza Elder for offensive possessions and relying on junior attacker Shelby Fredericks. The hosts forced four turnovers in the game’s first dozen minutes, won the first four draw controls of the night and held a slim 2-1 lead midway through the first half.

But a explosive stretch by Steele, who scored her first 3 goals all in a 2-minute stretch, flipped the game on its head.

Maryland learned how to evade NU’s defense, drawing double-teams along the eight-meter line before dumping down to a wide-open Steele by the side of the net. Once the Cats spread out their coverage to take away this option, the Terrapins began slicing through the new open space with swift transition passing.

The visitors surged to a 9-4 halftime lead and did not slow down after the break, stretching their advantage to 9 before cruising to the final horn.

Beardsley’s big outing provided a bright spot for NU. After scoring twice all of last season and three times through her first 12 games this season, the junior has now found the back of the net nine times in her last four appearances.

“My teammates have built up my confidence a lot,” Beardsley said. “It’s really just a team effort. Working together, moving the ball — that’s when we’re going to be most successful offensively.”

The Cats will have more than a week off before facing Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals next Friday.

With a win in that game potentially setting up a rematch with the Terrapins on their home field, Quinn said the team will need to learn valuable lessons from Thursday’s rout.

“We have a lot of time to look back on this game and see what we have to work harder for,” Quinn said. “We just have to go back to the drawing board and play with confidence.”

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