COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Behind a career-high seven goals from senior Caroline Steele, the No. 1 Maryland women’s lacrosse team advanced to their 11th-straight Final Four, defeating Denver 17-8 in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday night.
“So proud of our team and our effort tonight,” said head coach Cathy Reese. “I think we came out on fire, did a nice job on the draw, were patient and worked the ball on the offensive end to find openings and our defense played really well. Great night to be a Terp!”
Steele closed out her career in College Park in style, scoring her 200th career goal, only the second Maryland player ever to do that, while securing her career-high in goals (seven), points (eight) and tying her career-high with five groundballs and two caused turnovers. The senior scored five of her seven goals in the first half, while assisting on another.
Playing their last game in College Park, the 2019 senior class closed out their career at home with a 45-0 record, marking Maryland’s sixth year in a row with an undefeated home record, winning 87 games in a row. All 10 seniors got into the game and each of the attackers and midfielders scored in the game.
The Terps advanced to their 11th-straight Final Four and 27th in program history, the most in women’s lacrosse. The senior class is 3-2 in their career’s in Championship Weekend.
Junior Brindi Griffin also tied a career-high with four goals and six points while junior Kali Hartshorn and sophomore Grace Griffin each led Maryland with three assists, tying their career-highs.
Maryland won the battle in the draw circle, 18-9, with junior Lizzie Colson securing eight and Hartshorn five. Colson added to her eight draw controls with three groundballs and two caused turnovers. The Terps as a team had a season-high 13 caused turnovers, led by three from senior Julia Braig. Denver was the 15th opponent that Maryland held to under 10 goals this season.
After senior Jen Giles started the scoring with her only goal of the night, graduate student Erica Evans scored two in a row to make it 3-1 Maryland. Steele and B. Griffin combined for hte next six goals with a couple of highlight reel shots in there to make it a 9-3 Maryland score at halftime.
Steele started the second half right where she ended the first with a no-look bounce shot off a Hartshorn feed. The Terps had a running clock going after two B. Griffin goals made it 14-4 Maryland. Senior Kelsey Cummings had Maryland’s final goal of the night, closing out the senior classes home career.
Senior Megan Taylor notched eight saves and had a 50-percent save percentage. The Tewaaraton Finalist now has a .556 save percentage on the season, posting 193 saves to only 154 goals allowed.
Maryland will face No. 4 Northwestern in the National Semifinals on Friday night at either 5:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. at Homewood Field on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. The Terps and the Widcats split their two meetings this season.