COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Pennsylvania women’s lacrosse team played a lot of defense on Wednesday night against the top-ranked team in the nation, Maryland, and took a 12-7 loss to fall from the ranks of the unbeatens.
Maryland (8-0) won 16 of the game’s 21 draws, and those wins translated into a lot of possession and a lot of shots (UM outshot Penn 36-13). Lucy Ferguson had a strong game in goal, with a career high 15 saves (11 in the first half), but it was not enough as the 14th-ranked Quakers fell to 6-1 on the season
Penn got off to a fast start, winning the opening draw and scoring on its first possession as Tory Bensen converted a free-position shot. Maryland drew level a few minutes later, Taylor Cummings finishing a feed from Brooke Griffin, and then took a 2-1 lead midway through the period on Cummings’ second goal.
Penn tied it up, Catherine Dickinson finishing a free-position shot, but right off the ensuing draw Maryland took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Cummings collected the ground ball and fired a long pass to Griffin who was behind the Penn defense. She beat Ferguson low and to the right to make the score 3-2.
Maryland then had a long possession that ended with Megan Whittle finishing unassisted to put the Terps up, 4-2. Later, Whittle was again credited with a goal when her pass into the middle went off a Penn defender and rolled into the goal.
While Maryland held a majority of the first-half possession -- the Terps outshot the Quakers in the opening period, 22-6 -- Penn was dangerous when it had the ball. In addition to the Red and Blue’s two goals, Lely DeSimone hit the post on an effort and Iris Williamson’s shot at the end of the period was saved as the horn went.
Maryland quickly added to its lead in the second half. Whittle finished an unassisted goal less than two minutes into the period, and Penn compounded its problems with a penalty to go down a player. The Terps took advantage, Griffin finishing at the right post to make the score 7-2.
Nina Corcoran got one of the goals back with a superb individual effort that ended with her bouncing a shot that ended up just under the crossbar to make the score 7-3. However, another long Maryland possession ended with Cummings finishing a free-position shot for her hat trick.
Griffin netted her hat trick shortly afterward, camping at the right post again and taking a feed from Kelly McPartland with 22 minutes left.
Bensen netted her second of the night with 19:11 left, an unassisted effort that made the score 9-4, but again Maryland had a quick answer. This time Cummings drew a triple team out top, and found an open Griffin by the left post. She powered a backhanded shot past Ferguson.
Zoe Stukenberg made it 11-4 with 13:33 to play with a solo effort for UM. Whittle made it 12-4 shortly after that with a free-position shot.
Penn showed life late. First Lindsey Smith got Penn back on the board, using a nice pass from Bensen, and then Iris Williamson scored on a solo effort. Corcoran added her second of the night with a nice move near the left post.
Penn returns to action on Saturday, hosting Dartmouth at 11:30 a.m. on Franklin Field. That game will be televised live on ESPN3.