Last season, Grace Griffin established herself as a vital piece of Maryland women’s lacrosse’s midfield en route to being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

But there were times when the Sykesville native showed her relative inexperience. During a five-game stretch from late March into mid-April, Griffin saw her shooting percentage dip from 60.9 to 48.8 percent. She turned the ball over six times — with five combined against Virginia and Michigan alone — while committing just 13 turnovers the rest of the year.

Five games into her second season in College Park, Griffin has hinted at greater consistency for the Terps. In Saturday’s demolition of Hofstra, she scored on all five of her shot attempts, bringing her shooting percentage to 61.1 as she handles the larger expectations that follow a high-profile award as a rookie.

“Last year, I was along for the ride and taking everything in,” Griffin said. “This year … it’s about doing what I can, the best I can.”

Griffin joined coach Cathy Reese’s side as the No. 16 recruit in her class, and she didn’t look out of place next to All-Americans Jen Giles and Megan Whittle. Griffin notched 30 goals and seven assists, scooped 30 ground balls and forced 13 turnovers — ranking in the top five in each category on a stacked Terps roster.

This far into the 2019 season, she has found the early-season efficiency Maryland needs as its offense recovers from Whittle’s graduation. Through five games, she’s scored 11 goals and is on pace to surpass her 2018 tally.

“Grace is great. Last year, she was a freshman who played like an upperclassman,” attacker Kali Hartshorn said. “We’re all so proud of her.”

[Read more: Draw controls helped Maryland women’s lacrosse overcome sloppy play vs. Hofstra]

Griffin needed just over seven minutes to open her account as freshman, easing into life as a Terp quickly. But she showed her age at certain moments. While Griffin averaged more than a goal per game, she had four games without a point and had five games with multiple turnovers.

As a freshman, Griffin proved capable of supplying big plays to make up for her occasional lapses. She caused 13 turnovers in 2018 and scored a game-tying goal in the Terps’ semifinal defeat to Boston College.

“She works so hard,” defender Lizzie Colson said. “She finishes, and she shoots smart.”

At the start of the 2019 slate, Griffin struggled to get going. Through three games, she was only shooting at 36 percent — eight percentage points shy of her rookie mark — with a 1-for-4 showing against then-No. 2 North Carolina epitomizing her struggles.

Midway through the first half against the Tar Heels, Griffin dodged two defenders and fired an ill-advised shot a foot over the net. She didn’t attempt another shot from open play the rest of the game and failed to convert on two free position opportunities.

However, Griffin has shown the ability to bounce back from off nights. She responded to her subpar shooting performance against North Carolina with aplomb, scoring twice against UMBC with 100 percent shooting.

“It’s just a question of going out there and playing,” Griffin said. “Sometimes, when I overthink a little bit and I kind of get in my own head, I don’t always play my best.”

Since facing North Carolina, Griffin has slotted home seven goals in two blowout wins.

[Read more: First-half run propels No. 2 Maryland women’s lacrosse past Hofstra, 17-9]

She’s also taken a leadership role over Maryland’s core of talented freshman. Having been in a similar spot last year, Griffin has built a connection with the younger players.

“The biggest thing is telling them to take it in and have confidence in themselves,” Griffin said. “We’re here to support them.”

Griffin has found a rhythm ahead of a crucial stretch of games. The Terps have less than a week to prepare for Syracuse before the schedule toughens once more. In mid-March, Maryland plays three games in eight days as its Big Ten slate begins.

Having an in-form and focused Griffin could prove to be a major boost as the heart of the schedule approaches.

“She does a really nice job waiting for the right shot,” Reese said. “I love that.”