No. 12 Maryland women’s lacrosse cruises past High Point in first round of NCAA Tournament

(Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

The Terps (10-6) will be moving on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after dismantling the Panthers (10-8) by a score of 17-6.

After playing a schedule of only Big Ten teams throughout the regular season, Maryland’s first out-of-conference test was not much of a test at all. The Terps put together their most complete effort of the season at the right time.

Sophomore attacker Libby May led Maryland with a career-high five goals and her senior sister Catie May helped out with four assists. Grace Griffin had a hat trick of her own and goalie Emily Sterling was a brick wall, making 11 saves on 15 shots before she left the game. 

“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, we were all working together so well,” Libby May said after the game. “It feels really good to get such a big win. Something we’ve been working on is pulling away from teams, so I think we did a good job of staying disciplined.” 

High Point opened up the scoring on their first possession of the game with a Rachel Foster goal, just 40 seconds into the first half. Grace Griffin answered shortly after for the Terps and the teams proceeded to trade goals over the first 15 minutes, making the score even at three.

Freshman Eloise Clevenger scored Maryland’s third goal of the game and her first in a Maryland uniform. Clevenger scored another goal later in the half, giving her two goals in a tournament game after being held scoreless all season.

After Clevenger tied the game at three, the Terps went on a scoring run that completely changed the game. Maryland scored nine straight goals, turning a one-goal deficit into an eight-goal lead with six minutes to play in the first half.

Six different Terps scored over that span, including their leading scorer on the season, Hannah Leubecker who notched her 54th goal of the season. 

High Point finally cut the run short with a goal at the 3:36 mark in the first half, sending the teams into the locker room with Maryland leading 11-4. 

“Look it’s win or go home, we just had to really lock it in and stick to our gameplan,” Lizzie Colson said about the Terps’ defensive effort. “I think in the beginning, we kind of took High Point for granted and they let us know. Once we locked in, it was a whole different game.” 

Maryland came out of the locker room just as strong as they were in the first half. The May sisters opened up the scoring again, with Libby and Catie scoring the first two goals of the half respectively. 

Libby, Leubecker, Grace Griffin, and Hannah Warther all added goals in the half in what turned into another long scoring run for Maryland. At the 8:05 mark, Leubecker scored the Terps’ sixth goal in a row, giving them a 17-4 lead. 

High Point’s leading scorer Abby Hormes got her first and last goal of the game at the 6:30 mark and the Panthers scored the final two goals of the game, but it was much too little too late. 

The Maryland offense had their most efficient game of the entire season tonight. They shot 53 percent their second game in a row over the coveted 50 percent mark, and were six of nine from the free position. 

“On the offensive end, we want to be shooting over 50%, so I love where we are,” Reese said. “I loved how we moved the ball against their zone and were able to find openings that way. I wouldn’t say that we’re peaking though, I want us to keep making sure we’re dialed in.” 

The only aspect of the game where the Terps did not perform well was on the draw. High Point led Maryland 14-11 on draw controls, but the Terps’ elite defensive and efficient scoring made that stat inconsequential.

Maryland’s next opponent will be their old ACC rival, Duke. The game will air at 1:00 on Sunday on ESPN3.

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