Maryland Extends Win Streak in Cummings-Treanor Era
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Gary Gait heavily exhaled and sat down at the podium, minutes after his crossed arms accompanied an expressionless face while Maryland repeatedly passed up wide-open goals to run out the clock.
"That's the No. 1 team in the country," Gait said. "Isn't it?"
Eight times in the past four years, two women's lacrosse powerhouses have faced off. All eight games have gone to the same team.
If only for a minute and 12 seconds, No. 3 Syracuse (6-2) saw a glimpse of reversing the trend after Kayla Treanor snuck one into the bottom right corner. But after the Orange's brief 7-6 advantage, the top-ranked Terrapins (5-0) went on an 8-1 run in the Carrier Dome for a 14-9 win to quell any doubt of who the nation's best team is – again. Maryland now leads the all-time series 18-1.
Treanor won twice as many draw controls as two-time Tewaaraton Award winner Taylor Cummings in the first half. The Orange managed three less fouls in the first 30 minutes than the visitors. Syracuse even registered three more shots despite trailing 6-5 at the break. But the second half was a mirror opposite, and Maryland won all three categories in the latter half to pull away.
"I think the first half we struggled clearing the ball," Maryland coach Cathy Reese said. "We wanted to just do a better job taking care of it so we could transition into our offensive end."
That's exactly what the Terrapins did, executing on 9-of-10 clears in the second half en route to eight goals on 16 shots. Cummings bested Treanor in the draw circle, and the 50-50 balls that Maryland scooped up drew out possessions that the Terps used to suck the life out a Syracuse team that recorded only seven shots and one free-position opportunity in the second half.
Highlights: Maryland at Syracuse (NCAA Women)
Mar 12, 2016
Cummings' first goal proved the dagger, giving the Terps an 11-8 lead with 6:38 left in the game. Maryland wasn't turning the ball over like it did in the first frame and its ball security forced 33 Syracuse fouls, which allowed the Terps nine free-position shots (they converted on five).
With a 3-0 Maryland run to stretch its lead to six, it didn't matter if Syracuse had the overall advantage in the draw circle. The game was already decided.
"We did pretty good on that if we won draw controls," said Treanor, the two-time Tewaaraton finalist who had a team-high three goals, "but came up short on other ends."
Syracuse scored its final goal with 2:38 left in the game. It was Halle Majorana's second of the day against her former team to accompany two assists for the senior on the afternoon. But it was all just a consolation.
Cummings, who tallied a hat trick on four shots, cradled the ball in front of an open net and Orange goalkeeper Allie Murray was nowhere in sight. Instead, Cummings opted to pass the ball back out past the 12-meter arc and end the game just like most of the second half was spent – with the ball firmly in Maryland's grasp.
After the game, Reese said Maryland is still trying to find its identity. With only five starters returning from the 2015 championship squad, young faces need to step up, like sophomore midfielder Taylor Hensh who had a game-high five points against the Orange. The Terps only named freshman Megan Taylor as the starting goalkeeper two games ago. The Maryland coach wants fewer turnovers, better defense and more efficiency grabbing ground balls.
She didn't have a clear-cut reason for her team's domination of Syracuse since 2012. The flaws she listed would indicate it was the other way around. But on a day where there was a sliver of doubt the reign would continue, it did, and in emphatic fashion.
Sophomore Taylor Hensh led the No. 1 Terps past No. 3 Syracuse with four goals and one assist Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome. (Greg Wall)
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