When the Maryland women’s lacrosse team played Johns Hopkins on March 17, the Terps scored five goals in the first nine minutes jumping to a 5-0 lead.
Maryland scored another four goals unanswered later in the half and went on a three-goal run in the second half en route to a dominating 15-5 win over the Blue Jays to open Big Ten play.
The teams will meet again in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament Friday, but Maryland isn’t expecting the rematch to unfold the same way the first meeting did. The Terps said both teams have improved, and the Blue Jays have adjusted to key injuries they suffered just before the first meeting.
“The biggest thing is in any regular season you can change a lot from your first game to your last game,” attacker Megan Whittle said. “They’ve been able to bounce back from that and they’re a bit of a different team … again, you can’t take any opponent lightly, we’re playing for a championship so every team [that’s] out there, they’re playing for something.”
On Feb. 24, Johns Hopkins lost its only returning starting defender from last season, Emily Verica. She was sidelined for the remainder of the campaign.
Then, three days before playing the Terps in March, Johns Hopkins attacker Emily Kenul also suffered a season-ending knee injury. Kenul was tied for most goals on the team and ranked in the top-five on the team in nearly every statistical category at the time.
Now, Maryland players and coaches said Johns Hopkins poses a bigger threat than it did so soon after losing two of its best players.
“Our focus this week has really been … on one-on-one defense for us, like let’s get back to basics, let’s not try to get ahead of ourselves,” coach Cathy Reese said. “Let’s kind of break things down and start from the bottom again and really kind of revisit and renew our fundamentals and then build off that.”
And after putting in hard work in practice all week, Maryland is eager to head to Ann Arbor, Michigan to compete for its third Big Ten tournament championship in four years.
“After regular season ends, we’re all really excited it’s tournament time,” attacker Kali Hartshorn said. “Especially being in a place where the guys are and the energy is really high because everyone is really competitive, I think it’s a great environment for us to be in.”