After having to erase an early deficit in an 11-10 come-from-behind win over Princeton on Tuesday, the Maryland women's lacrosse team was determined to have a better start Sunday against Ohio State.
The No. 3 Terps accomplished that with their largest margin of victory of the season, a 20-5 blowout that pushed their win streak to 12 games and featured attacker Megan Whittle breaking the school's all-time scoring record.
Coach Cathy Reese wanted her team to come out with more energy, and it responded with three goals in the first seven minutes, including Whittle's record-breaking 268th career score.
"That was our focus, was coming out, starting fast and starting off on the right foot, and also making sure we kept our intensity through warm-ups all the way through the first 10 minutes of the game," Whittle said. "The last couple games before this, we were slacking a little bit."
Reese called timeout after Whittle put Maryland up 2-0 and became Maryland's all-time leading scorer.
"Our staff thought it was really important to do that and really acknowledge what had just happened," Reese said. "It was a really good time to bring it together and congratulate her, just give her a big giant hug and say what a huge moment this was in Maryland lacrosse."
Ohio State scored a pair of goals to cut the Maryland lead to 3-2, but the Terps answered with a 7-0 run and never looked back.
Five Terps — Whittle, attackers Caroline Steele and Kali Hartshorn and midfielders Jen Giles and Meghan Siverson — had a hat trick. Steele led with five goals and two assists, while Hartshorn added four goals on four shots.
Hartshorn also had a career-high 12 draw controls, helping the Terps to an 18-9 advantage in the circle.
"Kali does a really nice job of adapting to what she's seeing," Reese said. "She has the ability to react … to what the person is trying to do against her. She's been really successful because of her ability to do that."
Maryland also improved its shooting percentage on offense after its shaky performance against Princeton. Of the team's 33 shots against Ohio State, 29 were on goal, and 20 found the net.
Goalkeeper Megan Taylor had six saves and five goals allowed before being relieved for the final 5:21 by backup goalkeeper Emma Moss, who saved the one shot she faced.
"This game was [a] huge team effort," Hartshorn said. "Coming off of Princeton we weren't happy with that game and coming back and playing Ohio [State] we did our best to help with the errors we had against Princeton."
Following a game that was arguably Maryland's worst performance since its 16-15 loss to then-No. 8 North Carolina in February, Sunday served as a confidence booster entering the final two games of the regular season.
"This was great for us," Hartshorn said. "This was the game that we needed."