The Terps (6-4 B1G) had a rough afternoon in Happy Valley, falling 16-9 to the Nittany Lions (4-6 B1G) on Penn State’s senior day.
Maryland once again struggled with shooting percentage and turnovers, the same issues that have been plaguing them this season. The Terps offense looked out of sync throughout the entire day, failing to generate a lot of scoring chances and squandering those chances they did generate.
Head coach Cathy Reese was noticeably frustrated with her team’s effort today as they appeared to take a step back from the improvement they have shown as a team throughout the season.
“We’re so far in the season and we’re lacking consistency still,” Reese said. “I feel like I’m talking about the same things every week and that’s not good enough for where we want to be as a program and as a team this year.”
Mary Muldoon opened the scoring for Penn State but was quickly answered by Catie May, tying the game at one. Over the next 15 minutes, the Nittany Lions scored six straight goals, giving them a 7-1 lead.
The Penn State defense was suffocating, holding Maryland without a goal for a 17-minute stretch in the first half. Two straight Brindi Griffin goals cut the lead to 7-3, but the Nittany Lions quickly crushed that momentum by scoring two goals in the final minute of the first half.
The teams traded goals over the first 10 minutes of the first half, pushing the score to 11-5 but then the Penn State offense got hot again. Olivia Dirks, Kristin O’Neil, and Muldoon combined for four straight goals, giving Penn State a 15-6 lead late in the second half.
The Terps had a three-goal run of their own over a two-minute span late in the game but it was not close to enough to make it a close game. Muldoon for Penn State and Brindi Griffin for Maryland scored the final goals of the game, making it a 16-9 game at the final whistle.
O’Neil and Muldoon dominated for Penn State, scoring five goals apiece. Goaltender Lucy Lowe also had a very impressive performance, saving 10 of Maryland’s 19 shots on goal.
Brindi Griffin had another strong game for the Terps, scoring three goals and adding an assist. Libby May and Hannah Leubecker scored two goals of their own while Julia Hoffman notched her first goal of the season.
Maryland dominated the draw, just as they did in the first game against Penn State, but once again it did not translate to success. The Terps shot well under 50%, failing to build on their solid effort on Thursday, and turned it over 16 times.
“Here we are, we have extra possessions but then we’re turning the ball over 16 times,” Reese said. “I said from day one we want to limit those. I don’t want to turn it over in the clear, I don’t want to throw the ball out of bounds, I don’t want to make terrible passes.”
The Terps also looked uncomfortable on defense throughout the entire game. Penn State was able to generate a lot of easy looks at the net, putting goalie Emily Sterling in a tough spot. Sterling finished with a 31% save percentage and was replaced by Maddie McSally late in the second half.
Maryland has a lot of issues to address in the next few days before they host Johns Hopkins on Wednesday at 2:30.
“We only have one day to prepare for Hopkins,” Brindi Griffin said. “We’re going to try and focus on simple things, like shooting, things that we know how to do but need to capitalize on.”