The Terps’ (10-7) season came to an end Sunday afternoon at the hands of the Duke Blue Devils (11-7) in a 13-12 loss. This marks the first time Maryland has lost an NCAA Tournament game since May 25th, 2018.
Maryland fought hard to comeback after trailing by six goals in the second half but came up just short. Libby May led the Terps with four goals and her sister Catie added two goals of her own as well as three assists.
“Defensively we gave up a few too many easy ones and offensively it took us a while to kick it into gear,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “It’s tough to be on the losing end of a one-goal game in the tournament but I’m proud of our group’s effort.”
The first half was a very back-and-forth affair. Brindi Griffin opened up the scoring, putting Maryland ahead 1-0 but Duke quickly countered with three straight goals.
The teams traded goals over the next ten minutes, pushing the score to 5-4, but then Duke scored back-to-back goals, putting them up by three. Catie May and her sister Libby answered by scoring back-to-back goals of their own, cutting the deficit to one again.
The Blue Devils were able to gain some momentum going into the locker room by scoring the final two goals of the half.
Duke came out hot in the second half as well, scoring four of the first five goals. Catriona Barry’s goal at 20:45 put the Blue Devils up 13-7, but it was also Duke’s last goal of the half.
Catie and Libby May scored back-to-back goals for the second time of the game with 13 minutes left, trimming the deficit to 13-9. Libby then scored again at 8:24 to make it a three-goal game, on the assist from Catie.
“Just to share this time with Libby has been so great,” Catie May said after the game. “I’m so thankful for it and I’m so proud of her. She works so hard on and off the field, and even though she’s younger than me I look up to her.”
In need of a late comeback, Grace Griffin scored on a great pass from Libby May at 2:22 bringing the deficit to 13-11. A minute later, Hannah Leubecker scored, cutting the deficit to just one with less than two minutes remaining.
Duke won the ensuing draw, giving them the opportunity to run out the clock with the shot clock off. However, with just under 30 seconds left Maryland was able to cause a turnover and call a timeout, giving it a shot to tie the game.
After a strong defensive possession by Duke, Libby May got a shot off right as the clock hit zero but it hit off the pipe, securing the one-goal victory for the Blue Devils.
After Maryland had cut the deficit to three, senior defender and Tewaaraton finalist Lizzie Colson went down with an apparent wrist injury, leaving the Terps without their best defender for the final minutes of the season.
“It’s heartbreaking for her to not be on the field with everybody,” Reese said. “When you’re a fifth-year senior, the leader of this group, and the heartbeat of this team, win or lose it’s hard to see your season end that way.”
Maryland played a hard fought game for 60 minutes but at the end of the day the offensive production wasn’t consistent enough throughout for a victory.