The Maryland women’s lacrosse team bounced back from last week’s loss against Penn State with a complete effort in its home opener. Maryland was able to grab control of the game late in the first half, allowing them to coast in the second.
“Overall it’s nice to come away with our first win of the season and get that under our belt,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “We’re seeing improvement which is what we want but we still have a long way to go and a lot of room to grow.”
The star of the game was undoubtedly attacker Hannah Leubecker, who finished the day with seven goals on nine shots. The sophomore’s previous career high was two goals, which she scored last week against Penn State.
“Hannah was a superstar,” senior midfielder Grace Griffin said. “We knew that she was capable of that. She shot to score, she stuck it in the back of the net and I love how hard she went.”
For the majority of the first half, the teams went back and forth as neither team was able to get out to a big lead. Maryland opened up a 2-0 only to have Michigan score three unanswered goals. Then the Terps scored three unanswered goals of their own before the teams swapped three goals apiece, bringing the score to 8-6.
Leubecker scored the final two goals of the half, giving the Terps a 10-6 advantage after 30 minutes. Michigan opened up the second half with a quick score but then Leubecker answered with another pair of goals to put Maryland up 5.
From that point on, the Terps never relinquished control of the game. Their smallest advantage at any point in the second half was three goals and each time Michigan began to build momentum they answered with a score of their own.
While Leubecker was the most impactful player on the Maryland offense, she was not the only key contributor. Grace Griffin, Hannah Warther, and both Libbie and Catie May also scored multiple times on the day.
“Driving in is definitely one of our strengths,” Leubecker said. “I’ve never played on a team with this many weapons or in an offense like this.”
This past week, Reese stressed the importance of reducing turnovers, increasing shooting percentage, and putting goalie Emily Sterling in a better position to make saves. Today, the Terps shot a dominant 68%, turned it over five fewer times and were more effective in front of Sterling.
However, Reese was not hesitant to admit that she still wants to see improvement. When asked specifically what could be better, she said “everything.”
“We gave up too many goals and we want to make it harder for them offensively,” Reese said. “We turned the ball over more than we liked, it was better than last week, but still was too much.”
As a fairly inexperienced team, Maryland should continue to grow both offensively and defensively as they get more acclimated to playing with each other and against Big Ten competition.
“None of the freshmen and sophomores have seen conference play,” Reese said. “We’re going to get better as the season goes.”