No. 9 Maryland women’s lacrosse edges Johns Hopkins 9-8

(Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Johns Hopkins has never beaten Maryland in women’s lacrosse, but that drought almost came to an end this afternoon. In a game where defense and goalkeeping ruled, the Terps needed overtime to survive against their in-state rival. 

“We struggled in a lot of areas but I’m really proud of our team,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “They found a way to fight through and get an overtime win.”

Brindi Griffin opened up the scoring five minutes into the game, but Hopkins took a 2-1 lead over the next few minutes. Both Hopkins goals came immediately after Maryland yellow cards, one by Libby May and the other by Tori Barretta. 

Maryland then scored 3 unanswered goals, two from Hannah Leubecker and one from Catie May, taking a 4-2 lead. It appeared the Terps may begin to pull away, but then the offense stopped clicking. Maryland was held without a goal for the final 14:46 of the first half. 

Johns Hopkins was able to stay in the game through the majority of the first half because of its strong defense. Through 25 minutes, Maryland had dominated on the draw and in shots on goal, but strong performances by the Hopkins defenders and goalie Kathleen Garvey kept the game close.

In the final 5 minutes of the first half, Hopkins was able to get their offense going. The Blue Jays scored three unanswered goals, including two in a row from Mackenzie Heldberg, making it a 5-4. 

“Our shooting was terrible today,” Reese said. “That’s something I don’t want to be talking about every week.” 

Maryland got out to a quick start in the second half with a beautiful behind-the-back goal by Libby May to tie the game at 5. Both teams then went on a 10-minute scoring drought before Maryland goals by Shaylan Ahearn and then Leubecker gave the Terps a 7-5 lead.

Again, it appeared like Maryland might pull away. The Terps strong defense prevented the Blue Jays from scoring a goal until the 13:28 mark in the second half. 

“All week we worked a lot on communication and making our slides,” senior defender Lizzie Colson said. “We did a really good job of coming up and getting ground balls” 

However, Hopkins did not go down quietly. The teams traded goals over the next five minutes pushing the score to 8-6 but then Hopkins took over down the stretch. Goals by Shelby Harrison and Aurora Cordingley in the final ten minutes knotted up the game at eight.

The Blue Jays had multiple chances to take a lead late in the game, but Colson and the Maryland defense were able to step up down the stretch. The Terps had the ball last in regulation but a turnover prevented them from generating a real scoring chance.

Johns Hopkins had multiple chances to end the game throughout the overtime period, but its best chance came at the 1:05 mark when Abbey Hurlbrink was awarded a free position shot. The shot went high and Maryland successfully cleared, giving the Terps another chance to put the game away.

The Terps used almost all of the remaining clock before Leubecker was able to find the back of the net on a bouncing shot to end the game. 

“I knew how much time we had left so I was just looking to generate a shot,” Leubecker said. “I knew I wanted to take it.” 

Reese was pleased with how her team was able to handle the pressure of a close game, but was not shy about wanting to see improvement in shooting percentage and turnovers. 

The Terps will have six days off to work on those areas before facing Ohio State twice in three days.