After missing Wednesday’s game due to a family emergency, it didn’t take long for Eloise Clevenger to make her presence felt against Ohio State Saturday afternoon in College Park.
On the Terps’ first possession of the game, Clevenger found a cutting Victoria Hensh from behind the cage and put it on the doorstep for Hensh to open the scoring.
With 2:51 remaining in the game and Clevenger again behind the cage, Hensh sprinted through the lane to cut to the goal. Clevenger found her again for the score and with it, the junior set a single-game program record of eight assists – topping now-assistant coach Alex Aust’s previous record of seven, who greeted Clevenger with an excited, warm embrace on the sideline.
While Clevenger shined the brightest, it was an all-around domination for Maryland (12-3, 4-0 Big Ten), who cruised to a 18-7 victory over Ohio State. The win was the Terps’ ninth straight, and with no home games remaining, Cathy Reese remains undefeated in home conference games in her 17 years at Maryland.
“To come away with three conference wins in seven days, and today, to really just see the contributions from so many different people on our roster and play probably the most complete game we’ve had all season, I’m just really proud of our team,” coach Cathy Reese said.
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Hannah Leubecker and Shannon Smith both tallied four goals while Kori Edmondson scored three goals and an assist.
Clevenger, the Terps’ leader in points, tallied a goal and two assists in less than four minutes to open up the game. That hot start set the tone for Maryland, who scored seven goals in the first period.
“[It’s great] to see Eloise’s growth as we’ve gone through the season, and then to see her execution today, the minimal amount of turnovers, the assisted goals that our shooters are finishing on and having a ten-goal lead,” Reese said.
Ohio State closed in on Maryland late in the first, scoring its third goal to trim the deficit to one. But from then on, it was all Maryland.
The Terps went on an 8-0 run, holding the Buckeyes scoreless for twenty minutes and pushed their lead to 12-3. Clevenger stayed hot amid the run, setting a new career-best of six assists late in the second quarter after assisting on half of the team’s goals in the run.
“The first couple goals, we’re kind of like ‘alright,’ I think two of them were eight meters so just little tiny mistakes that we knew we had to adjust and fix,” defender Abby Bosco said. “[but] when we do what the gameplan is and we all shift together, everyone’s covered.”
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Goalie Emily Sterling started off slow, allowing those three goals prior to recording a save, but saved the next three and finished the day with six saves while allowing six goals before being subbed out with a big Maryland lead in the final period.
The Terps nearly doubled the Buckeyes draw control tally, taking 19 to Ohio State’s ten. Senior Shaylan Ahearn led the team with eight, moving her season total to 103. Ahearn became just the third Terp — alongside Taylor Cummings and Kali Hartshorn — to record multiple 100-draw seasons.
Bosco won seven draw controls, the team’s second-best. She stuffed the stat sheet in other areas as well, scooping four ground balls and causing four turnovers on her senior day.
Though Ahearn is a senior, she wasn’t commemorated on senior day — that’s because the captain midfielder, alongside four fellow starters, plan to exercise their extra year of eligibility to return to College Park for a fifth-year.
But before Cathy Reese and the Terps get too excited about next year, Maryland has two regular season games remaining. The Terps take on No. 17 Penn State and No. 2 Northwestern on the road before entering the postseason — where Reese and the Terps think they can make some noise, particularly if the in-season growth continues.
“I’ve really seen so much growth,” Reese said. “I don’t know that we’ve had another year that we’ve grown as much as a team as we really have throughout this season.”