With Syracuse and Maryland women’s lacrosse as the top two scoring offenses in the nation, the Sunday matchup between the teams was expected to be a shootout. But that wasn’t the case to start.
Neither team could find the net for the first seven minutes of the game. While the No. 8 Orange scored first, their edge lasted for less than a minute.
Seconds after Terps attacker Taylor Hensh tied the game at one, midfielder Jen Giles scored to give No. 5 Maryland the lead, which it held for the rest of the game en route to an 18-11 victory on its former ACC rival’s turf.
Syracuse entered Sunday averaging 18.4 goals per game, but the Terps (5-1) held the Orange (4-2) to just four points in the first half, while notching eight of their own.
Maryland limited Syracuse’s offense, starting from the draw circle. The Terps led with 22 control wins, compared with the Orange’s eight.
“To score goals, you have to have possessions, so that’s something we’ve been harping on lately and it showed today,” attacker Megan Whittle said. “We really tried to focus on the 10 seconds of focus that is the draw control.”
While the game started slowly — and would stay that way for Syracuse — Maryland found its stride and didn’t let up.
Attacker Caroline Steele led the Terps with a hat trick in the first half, and finished with five goals and two assists.
“She wasn’t afraid to go,” coach Cathy Reese said. “This was a tough defense, and we were trying to find where we could attack, and she got hot today.”
Hensh and fellow attacker Kali Hartshorn also put together career performances. Hartshorn recorded her first hat trick of the season and seven draw control wins, while Hensh scored four goals. Whittle notched a hat trick, two assists and five draw control wins as well.
Syracuse cut Maryland’s lead to five a few minutes into the second half, but the Orange wouldn’t come close to thwarting the Terps.
The win was Maryland’s first victory against a top-10 team by more than two points. The Terps defeated then-No. 3 Florida 16-14 in February before falling, 16-15, to then-No. 8 North Carolina the next week.
“Syracuse is never going away, they’re always coming back and they have such a powerful offense … it’s something you have to be on your toes all the time and ready to stop,” Reese said. “We had a timeout, and we just decided to reset and make sure defensively we were playing our game and sticking to what we’d been doing in our game plan all game long.”