No. 8 Maryland women’s lacrosse dominates Ohio State in second game of series

(Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

The Terps (5-1 B1G) put together another complete effort this afternoon, defeating Ohio State (1-7 B1G) 11-5. Sophomore attacker Hannah Leubecker led the Terps with five goals while senior attacker Brindi Griffin had a hat trick of her own. 

In a game where the Maryland defense was impenetrable, sophomore goalie Emily Sterling had her best performance of the year, stopping 12 of Ohio State’s 17 shots, good for a 70% save percentage. 

“Our goalie was fantastic, Emily had such a great game,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “She’s building this confidence which is exactly what we hope and what we want because that’s going to help our team as we continue to grow and get better.” 

Brindi Griffin got on the board first for Maryland at 29:12 on a free position shot, but Chloe Johnson tied it up for the Buckeyes with a free position goal of her own. Both teams played very solid defensively through the first ten minutes as the next goal was a Libby May strike at 19:13.

Leubecker, Maryland’s leading goal scorer, started heating up midway through the first half. She scored shortly after Libby May’s goal and was answered by Chloe Johnson again. Then the Terps went on to score two more unanswered goals, giving them a 5-2 lead and forcing the Buckeyes to call timeout. 

Hannah Warther scored the final goal of the half for Maryland, giving them a 6-2 lead going into the locker room. The Maryland defense was dominant in the half, led by Sterling who stopped nine of 11 Buckeye shots.

The second half also got out to a slow start with both teams missing some opportunities on offense through the first seven-plus minutes of the half. An Ohio State penalty led to Brindi Griffin’s second goal of the game while the Terps had an attacking advantage. 

Ohio State went 26 minutes without scoring a goal before an Ali Beekhuizen score finally got them on the board again, but that goal didn’t spark any momentum for the Buckeyes. Goalie Jillian Rizzo had a very strong half for the Buckeyes but she was still outplayed by Sterling. 

“I have to give credit to my defense, they were the ones forcing the lesser angle shots that gave me a better chance to save the ball,” Sterling said. “They were playing for me and I had their back.”

Leubecker scored her fourth of the day at 14:52, prompting a Buckeye timeout. Liza Hernandez scored right after the timeout, making it 8-4, but Maryland’s dominance on the draw prevented any sort of run by the Buckeyes.

Maryland goals by Grace Griffin and Leubecker pushed the score to 10-4 before a Maryland timeout at 6:06. The teams traded goals down the stretch, but Maryland was able to run out the rest of the clock and secure a dominant victory. 

Maryland’s offense was churning throughout the whole game, but Rizzo’s performance in goal for the Buckeyes kept the game fairly close. She finished with 15 saves on 26 Maryland shots, good for a 57.7% save percentage. 

“For us, it’s about focusing on the process of the game,” Reese said. “We’re not going in talking about outcomes or being perfect on shooting, we want to focus on one play at a time and win the moment.” 

Lizzie Colson again led the Terps defense and filled up the stat sheet with eight draw controls, four ground balls, and two caused turnovers. 

Even in a win, Reese was once again frustrated with her team’s shooting percentage, describing it as “terrible.” 

Next Saturday, the Terps will face No.3 Northwestern, a team who will force them to shoot well in order to stay in the game.

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