By Tyler Lochte
A 7-1 run spread across three quarters was the difference as the Denver Pioneers handed Maryland and head coach Cathy Reese just her sixth loss in 167 home games in her 17 years at the helm.
Maryland struck twice in the first with two goals from freshman Kori Edmondson, but it was liftoff for the visitors from there. Sophomore Lauren Black found the net on a pass from Sloane Kipp to cut the deficit to 1 before Julia Gilbert scored on either side of the first break to put the Pioneers in front.
Libby May scored less than two minutes later to tie it on Leubecker’s 2nd assist of the first half, but the Terps followed that up with an 18-minute dry spell. Denver took advantage of the drought by netting 4 in that window, to take a 7-3 lead midway through the 3rd.
For the final 25 minutes, it was a different game. Maryland dominated, giving up just 1 goal over the final period and a half, as Clevenger and Leubecker scored within a minute of each other to cut the deficit to 2. Then, it was a moment of magic from the top incoming freshman in the country, who cut to the middle and rolled the ball into the goal past Denver goalie Emelia Bohi to make it a one goal game.
It was the first hat trick in the college career of the former McDonough Eagle.
“I honestly couldn’t have done it without my teammates clearing through for me,” said Edmondson, who now has six goals for Maryland.
Edmondson also spoke about her transition from high school: “It’s definitely a big adjustment. I feel like the game speed is incredibly faster than it is in high school. Everyone is good.”
“Kori can run, she’s a competitor, like she is mentally tough and strong but she’s a freshman, so we’re going to see some learning, you know, some growing pains, but I’ve got to be able to give her the flexibility and the room to grow,” Reese said.
Netminder Emily Sterling also played a big role in Maryland’s dominant close to the game, making three key saves to allow Maryland a chance at a comeback.
“A goalie is only as good as the defense in front of them, and I could not believe that any stronger. I think as our defense has come together more, I have been looking at easier shots to save.”
Denver picks up their 2nd straight win against a ranked Big Ten opponent after besting Michigan on Wednesday. The Pioneers now improve to 6-0 on the year and have home games against Niagra and Delaware before a massive game against top five Boston College.
The Terps fall to 3-3, but have a favorable bounce-back matchup against struggling William & Mary on Wednesday, before two unranked matchups against Big East opposition in Villanova and Georgetown.