Maryland women’s lacrosse freshman midfielder Kali Hartshorn received a pass from midfielder Jen Giles, sprinted around a defender across the face of goal and fell to her knees as she slotted the ball into the top-left corner of the net before her teammates mobbed her in celebration.
Hartshorn’s opening score propelled a 13-goal game for the Terps as they went on to beat then-No. 1 North Carolina on Saturday at Maryland Stadium. Her goal was one of a few plays from less-experienced players that impressed senior midfielder Zoe Stukenberg.
“I didn’t see any jitters out of younger players, people who have never played against UNC,” Stukenberg said. “I saw confidence out of Kali with our first goal. A freshman — that’s huge!”
The No. 1 Terps (3-0) brought in the nation’s top freshman class this season, and seven of those freshmen have seen the field in the first three games. The young players, however, had to settle in.
After Maryland’s 17-13 win over Georgetown on Feb. 18, attacker Megan Whittle said the team was still developing chemistry. She’s stressed to the younger players to be more aggressive and not be hesitant to attack the goal.
They’ve continued to grow as the season has progressed, though. Hartshorn and redshirt freshman defender Meghan Doherty have started all three games, and Hartshorn has taken draws after former star Taylor Cummings graduated in the offseason.
Freshmen midfielders Lizzie Colson and Hannah Warther have also combined for three goals.
“They’ve come in and played like they belong on the field at all times,” senior defender Nadine Hadnagy said on Feb. 22. “They didn’t play scared, they just came in and knew their role. They’ve really been adapting well.”
The rookies’ adaption was on display when coach Cathy Reese’s squad took down the Tar Heels.
Hartshorn scored two goals, Doherty started on defense, and Colson and freshman attacker Brindi Griffin also received playing time, impressing Reese and the Terps’ veterans.
“This was just the first of many big games they’ll play in,” said Stukenberg, who’s played in three national championships. “This hopefully shows them what we’ve always known — that they are an awesome group of girls that are going to do really great things.”