The starting lineup for the No. 2 Maryland women's lacrosse program is a virtual All-Star team, with four players vying for national Player of the Year honors.
In Sunday's home opener against No. 4 Duke, the Terps flexed their muscle by opening an eight-goal lead in the first half. The Blue Devils made the second half more interesting with an early rally, but in the end, Maryland simply had too much firepower in the 15-6 victory before an announced 1,552. Maryland has now beaten two top-10 opponents in its opening three games.
"It was a good game between two top teams," Maryland coach Cathy Reese said. "I was proud of the effort we put out there today. I thought we could have executed quite a bit better. It's nice at this point in the season to find things you need to get better at."
Alex Aust, Kelly McPartland, Iliana Sanza (St. Paul's) and Katie Schwarzmann (Century) each made the 2013 Tewaaraton Watch List. Schwarzmann won the award last year, is a three-time All-American and has scored a goal in every game for the past two seasons.
However, Maryland (3-0 overall, 1-0 ACC) showed its depth as nine players had goals against Duke. Brooke Griffin (South River) led the way with three goals and two assists, while Schwarzmann had two goals and two assists. Beth Glaros (Wilde Lake) and Taylor Cummings (McDonogh) also had two goals each.
Kerrin Maurer led Duke (4-1, 1-1) with three goals and two assists.
The Blue Devils were able to maintain some possession, but Maryland took full advantage of its scoring opportunities. Goals by Glaros, Cummings, Griffin, Jen Mendez (Seton Keough) and Aust provided a 5-1 lead with 15:18 left, forcing the Blue Devils to call a timeout.
"We just had to focus on the little things and to keep our composure," Griffin said. "We just focus on one game at a time and focus on ourselves. Of course, it's awesome to beat Duke."
But the game did not get much better for Duke. Griffin had two goals, while Kristen Lamon (St. Mary's) and Glaros each scored once, and the Terps extended the lead to 9-2 at the half. Maryland held Duke without a goal for almost 24 minutes before Molly Quirke scored with nine seconds left. The Terps outshot Duke 17-9 and scored on all four of their free-position opportunities.
The Blue Devils were eventually able to force a couple of key turnovers and cut the margin to 10-6 with 14:36 left in the game on goals by Maddy Morrissey, Maddie Salamone (Bel Air) and two by Maurer. But Maryland then put the game away with consecutive goals by McPartland, Aust, Cummings, Schwarzmann and Halle Majorana, the last coming with 3:31 remaining.
"We had a little lull," Sanza said. "But knowing we can improve is something we looked into going into the second half. I think they came out with a little more energy and we had to come meet that a couple of minutes in, but we did and it was fine."