With a few minutes left in the first half, Hannah Leubecker was already having a career outing for Maryland women’s lacrosse.
One minute earlier, she had completed her first hat trick and extended a Terps lead.
As the Michigan Wolverines began working their way down the field, a pass ran off course, right toward a charging Leubecker. She took it right to the Michigan keeper and scored her fourth goal.
Leubecker was the difference-maker for No. 10 Maryland as they downed No.17 Michigan, 17-13, taking the first game of a weekend series.
“Hannah was a superstar,” captain Grace Griffin said. “She just went hard and she did what she was good at.”
The sophomore had a career day against the Wolverines, scoring seven goals and igniting the Maryland offense early on to give the Terps their first win of the season.
The Terps started strong, leaning on two goals from veterans Brindi Griffin and Hannah Warther. Michigan pulled it back with three goals in two minutes
Both squads traded goals until Leubecker started heating up for Maryland. She broke a 3-3 tie to establish a lead that the Terps held on to for the rest of the game. Catie May and Grace Griffin also added goals, contributing to a 3-1 run for Maryland.
“We were driving hard to the cage,” coach Cathy Reese said. “We were a little hesitant at first, but when we did go hard, we were able to create really good looks on goal.”
The Wolverines began to turn up the aggression and bring the score back within one, but Leubecker was there to keep them at arms’ length, scoring three goals in the final eight minutes of the opening half — and giving the Terps a 10-4 advantage at the break.
Michigan scored in the opening minute of the second half, and appeared to have the momentum. But Leubecker reestablished herself in the game scoring back-to-back goals, bringing her total to six, the most since Caroline Steele scored seven in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
“It’s crucial to try and take time off the clock for the defense,” Leubecker said. “If we can convert off of missed opportunities, it’s a big momentum shift.”
The Terps struggled on defense during the early parts of the second half, letting the Wolverines claw back within three goals. However, Maryland had some familiar faces restore its lead in Grace Griffin, Libby May and Warther — putting the Terps up 15-10.
Nadine Stewart and Molly Garrett continued to cause problems for Maryland, capitalizing on mistakes in the backline to cut down on their deficit. Leave it to Leubecker, scoring her seventh goal to quell a Michigan comeback.
Hannah Warther helped keep the Wolverines at bay with a clutch goal in response to Stewart’s fourth goal of the game.
And the Terps were able to hold off the Michigan attack in the final minutes to secure their first win of the season and the the first of their long weekend. Though Maryland performed well across the board, it was Leubecker who provided the crucial production to take them past a feisty Michigan side.
“I was just excited to get out there and do what we’ve been practicing and definitely make the adjustments I needed to make from Penn State,” Leubecker said.