No. 9 Maryland women’s lacrosse squeaks by No. 23 Rutgers on senior day

(Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

The Terps (6-3 B1G) narrowly defeated the Scarlet Knights (3-6 B1G) 14-12 in what was a back-and-forth battle over 60 minutes.

Seniors Hannah Warther and Brindi Griffin fittingly led Maryland’s offense, with four and three goals respectively. Libby May added two more goals of her own as well as three assists. Senior Lizzie Colson shined on defense again with seven draw controls, four ground balls, and six caused turnovers. 

“It’s so bittersweet,” Brindi Griffin said about playing on senior day. “All of us are just so fortunate to be here and so thankful for our last 4-5 years. Me, Hannah, and Lizzie all live together and they’re both so humble. I’m just so lucky to play with those girls.” 

The teams traded goals through the first 12 minutes of the game, as the senior tandem of Catie May and Warther got the Terps on the board early. Both goals were answered by Rutgers, leading to a Reese timeout at 19:53.

Libby May scored a minute after the timeout but Marin Hartshorn tied it up quickly for Rutgers. Back-to-back goals by Warther gave the Terps a 5-3 lead and gave her a hat trick on the day, a sign of her confidence early in the game.

Brindi Griffin, Hannah Leubecker, and Warther again pushed the Terps’ lead to 5 with 6:25 in the first half. Just as it looked as if Maryland was firmly in control with an 8-3 lead, Rutgers stormed back. 

Hartshorn scored two goals within 40 seconds of each other, cutting the deficit to two, breaking the Scarlet Knights’ 14-minute scoring drought. Hannah Hollingsworth and Cassidy Spills then added two more goals for Rutgers, giving them four unanswered scores in just 3:45, which completely shifted the momentum heading into the locker room. After leading by five earlier in the frame, Maryland led just one at the half. 

“In the past couple games, our opponents have been going on runs against us,” Warther said. “We’ve really been trying to find a way to reset on offense and defense, so it’s crucial moving forward for us after giving up a goal to bring it in as a group and say ‘let’s forget it.’” 

The Terps quickly snagged that momentum back at the beginning of the second half on goals by Brindi Griffin and Catie May in the first five minutes. Julia Lytle answered immediately for Rutgers, making it 10-8 before an eight minute scoring drought by both teams.

Spills broke the drought for Rutgers at 17:41, bringing Maryland’s lead back to just one in what continued to be a back and forth affair. Libby May and Shaylan Ahearn gave Maryland some more breathing room with back-to-back goals over the next few minutes.

That breathing room vanished soon, however, as Lytle and Spills cut the deficit to 12-11 with under 10 minutes to play. A Rutgers timeout with seven minutes to play quickly led to Hollingsworth scoring the tying goal on a wide-open look.

The Terps were able to shut down Rutgers in the final six minutes, however. An Ahearn goal at 3:59 gave them a lead to work with and then a Brindi Griffin goal at 1:12 sealed a 14-12 victory. 

The Terps almost shot 50% today, something head coach Cathy Reese has been pushing for all season, but they struggled on the draw for the third consecutive game. That is something that will need to be fixed before their matchup with No. 14 Penn State on Sunday. 

Maryland also struggled with turnovers today, committing 17 of them with seven being unforced. In Maryland’s first matchup with Penn State, they also struggled with turnovers and came away with a loss, so the Terps must improve on that as well. 

“That’s an area where we need to do better, I want us under 10 turnovers a game,” Reese said. “We would make a great defensive stop and then give a dangerous Rutgers team another chance and have to do it again. We need to take a little more pride in each possession.”

Sunday’s game at Penn State will air at 1:00 on BTN+.

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