WASHINGTON, D.C. — Early in the second half of Maryland women’s lacrosse’s Wednesday night matchup at Georgetown, emotions were running high. A series of disagreements between officials had both coaching staffs bickering.
After heading into halftime trailing by four — the team’s largest deficit of the season — the Terps were frustrated, desperate for a spark to avoid their first loss of the season. And midfielder Jen Giles provided it.
Off a free position, the captain drove hard toward goal and finished a bouncing shot past goalie Haelle Chomo. She threw her stick emphatically to the ground and fired up her teammates, scoring the first of three goals in about two minutes early in the second half to draw level.
Maryland seemed to feed off the emotion, locking in defensively and converting its looks on offense in an explosive second-half effort. Although it struggled in the first 30 minutes, the Terps caught fire in the final frame with a massive 13-0 run to dispatch Georgetown, 17-8.
“We saw today a lot of what this team is capable of,” coach Cathy Reese said. “But a tale of two halves.”
After spending most of the first half trailing against Northwestern on April 11, Maryland continued to be in unfamiliar territory Wednesday. The Terps appeared to have Georgetown well-defended on its first possession, but attacker Michaela Bruno created an inch of space and fired past goalkeeper Megan Taylor for a 1-0 lead.
And the Terps’ struggles continued.
Attacker Caroline Steele had a clear opportunity off a free position look, but fired wide. On the ensuing Hoyas possession, attacker Morgan Ryan found space and comfortably finished, extending the advantage to two.
“They were playing great,” Reese said. “They were scoring on things we should have prepared for.”
But the Terps remained active. After a series of scrappy passes and scrambles for loose balls, attacker Brindi Griffin earned a free position look. She took advantage, cutting to her right and sniping a sidearm shot to bring Maryland back into it.
Two more goals for the Hoyas gave them a 4-1 lead with 19 minutes remaining in the half. And while Maryland clawed back within one multiple times, seven turnovers in the first 20 minutes and numerous blocked or deflected passes doomed the squad to an 8-4 halftime deficit.
“We turned the ball over. We missed the cage a lot,” Reese said. “But second half, we reset and I’m really proud.”
Although Maryland would eventually storm back, it endured a less-than-ideal start to the second half. Giles fired a shot narrowly wide, and midfielder Erica Evans followed up with an errant pass that ended up in a Georgetown stick.
But its fortunes soon changed. Midfielder Meghan Siverson promptly converted a free position to bring the Terps within three. At the other end, Maryland locked in defensively. It strung together a series of stops, affording the offense multiple extra possessions.
“We had shutdown defense in the second half. We didn’t give up a goal,” Reese said, “which is awesome.”
And the Terps took advantage. Three consecutive goals, two from Giles and a third from Evans, tied the game at eight with 21 minutes remaining.
“In the second half we started playing Maryland lacrosse, finishing our shots, locking down on defense, and doing what we do best,” Evans said.
Less than a minute later, midfielder Grace Griffin gave the Terps their first lead of the night. She took a feed inside, dodged two defenders and scored calmly. The Terps never looked back. Giles added another for Maryland’s sixth in 12 minutes and the offense settled in.
The defense responded with similar aplomb, continuously forcing bad looks. Georgetown mustered only two shots on goal through the first 20 minutes of the half. Taylor produced four crucial second-half saves to keep the lead secure.
“To have Julia Braig, Shelby, Meg T and Meg D step up together and lock them out in the second half … was awesome,” Reese said.
After struggling for large chunks of the opening 30 minutes, Maryland dominated the second half. An offensive onslaught combined with a revised defense carried Maryland to an emphatic win against its local rival.
“Today, just 30 minutes wasn’t too great. We dug ourselves in a little hole,” Reese said. “We had to find a way to come out of it and we did,” Reese said.