No. 7 Maryland women’s lacrosse drops second in a row to No. 3 Northwestern

(Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

In a game that was a tale of two halves, the Terps (5-3 B1G) once again could not contain the Wildcats (9-0 B1G) offense, falling 20-10 on the road in Evanston. 

Maryland played a strong first half and were tied after 30 minutes, but Northwestern absolutely dominated the next 30. 

“Today we saw some moments of really good play for us, I was really pleased with our team’s effort in the first half,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “Obviously, we fell apart in the second half but we saw how good we can be in 30 minutes of play and we need to take that and build on it.”

Northwestern got on the board first with a Sammy Mueller free-position goal, but Hannah Leubecker quickly answered for Maryland. Mueller went on to score two more goals in the next three minutes, giving her a hat trick less than 10 minutes into the game.

Goals by Leubecker and Grace Griffin tied the game at three and the teams went back and forth for the remainder of the first half. Maryland took its first lead of the series at 9:36 when Shaylan Ahearn put them up 5-4.

The Wildcats answered with back-to-back goals, making it 6-5 but then Maryland scored back-to-back goals of their own. An incredible behind the back shot by Mueller with just 1.8 seconds in the half tied the game up at seven going into the half.

While the first half was a back and forth affair, the second half was a different story. Mueller’s last second goal proved to be a huge momentum boost for Northwestern as they came out on fire in the second. 

From the 25:13 mark to the 18-minute mark, the Wildcats scored eight goals in a row by seven different players, turning a 7-7 game into a 15-7 game. Northwestern had scored 11 goals in a row and held a 17-7 lead before Maryland finally broke the streak at the 7:43 mark with Leubecker’s fourth goal of the game. The 23-minute scoring drought by Maryland is their longest of the season. 

“I think it’s definitely an area we can improve,” Reese said when asked about her team’s mental toughness. “When the going got tough and we got caught back on our heels. That’s a scenario where we need to keep attacking and continue with that level of intensity and competitiveness for a full 60 minutes.” 

Maryland did score three times in the final 10 minutes of the half but they were each answered by a Wildcats goal. By the time the final whistle blew, Maryland had given up 20 goals in back-to-back games, both of which they lost by double-digits. 

Izzy Scane, who leads the country in goals, was held scoreless in the first half but ended up leading the Wildcats with five goals, catching fire in the second half. Mueller reached her season high in goals with four while Erin Coykendall added three goals of her own.

Leubecker did have a strong day for the Terps, scoring half of Maryland’s 10 goals. Grace Griffin also added two goals while Catie May hit her career high in assists with four. 

Maryland played a really strong first half, on both ends of the field but it was only enough to keep the game tied with the No. 3 team in the nation. Once the second half began Northwestern’s offense caught fire and it couldn’t be contained.

Once again, Maryland struggled on the draw which made it impossible to keep the game close in the second half. Northwestern finished the game with 21 draw controls compared to just 10 by Maryland. 

Even after two really tough losses, Maryland is still maintaining a positive attitude going forward. 

“I feel good. We’re young, a lot of those girls had not seen Northwestern before,” defender Lizzie Colson said when asked about her confidence in the team moving forward. “The first half was incredible and we had some good moments in the second half, so it’s encouraging to see and I think we all feel that.