Maryland women’s lacrosse had never lost to in-state rival Johns Hopkins over the two teams’ 18 meetings. However, the Blue Jays did all they could to change that Friday, forcing overtime in a stingy contest.
As both teams jockeyed for the chance to give their team a win, the Terps gained possession with limited time remaining.
It was the Terps’ leading goalscorer who played hero once again, as Hannah Leubecker found an opening with less than 10 seconds left in overtime, burying the winner for a 9-8 victory, and keeping Maryland’s undefeated streak against their rivals alive.
“I knew there wasn’t much time left on the clock and we were just looking to generate a shot and I had the ball,” Leubecker said. “I knew I wanted to take it, and I knew what we needed.”
The Terps found early success in attack, first finding a great look for Libby May on the opening possession that drew a point-blank save out of Kathleen Garvey and then Brindi Griffin notching the opening goal on the next go around. That goal extended Griffin’s scoring streak to 25 games, a run that dates back to March 2019.
Maryland defense’s commited a few errors early on that gave the Blue Jays a chance to stay goal-for-goal with the Terps. Catie May and Tori Barretta each picked up yellow cards that directly led to a goal for Hopkins.
Looking to reestablish the attack, Maryland put together a string of passes before Leubecker finished her 13th goal of the season. The Terps have not relied much on team scoring this season, but coach Cathy Reese said that her squad has worked to improve on it during their extended break.
“Obviously it wasn’t the prettiest game in the world, but we came out on top,” Lizzie Colson said. “We held our ground when the going got tough.”
May followed it up quickly with a wrap-around goal that gave Maryland its first lead of the game.
With half of the opening period gone, Leubecker converted a free position shot, but that was all the Terps would manage for the remainder of the half. Garvey was a major obstacle for Maryland, as she racked up 11 saves against a Terps’ offense that found numerous quality opportunities but was often met with a clutch save.
While the Blue Jays’ defense stifled Maryland, their offense exploded in the final five minutes, putting away three goals and giving themselves a one-goal edge at halftime.
Libby May opened the half with a tremendous no-look behind-the-back shot to level the game up in the first minute.
It became a possession battle for both sides as players struggled to retain control and put away goals.
“We just need to work a little bit harder for each other when we’re carrying up the field and recognizing when our midfielders and when our goalies need help,” Colson said.
The Terps were eventually able to find the cage through Shaylan Ahearn and Leubecker, and it looked like Maryland was ready to call the game. But, Johns Hopkins fought back.
It took almost 17 minutes for the Blue Jays to score again, but Maggie Schneidereith found the back of the net with an elevated shot over the heads of the Maryland defensive line. Both sides swapped goals with under 10 minutes left, Hopkins still chasing a Terps side that was capitalizing on free position opportunities, going 2-for-2 in the second half.
But Aurora Cordingley knotted the game at eight with six minutes left. And from there, both sides fought for the chance to put away the goal that would seal a key win. As time ticked down in regulation, neither side could get it done.
Ahearn gave Maryland a chance by causing a turnover with just over a minute left, but she was unable to get a clear shot off, and the game headed to overtime.
“We need to learn how to compete under pressure,” Reese said. “With such a young group, learning to compete under pressure is something that comes with experience.”
Libby May almost got the win on the opening possession, trying a repeat of her wrap-around goal, but the shot couldn’t find the back of the net. Hopkins earned themselves a free position shot that sailed well above the goalkeeper — returning the ball to Maryland.
However, Colson went down on the play, an unwelcome sight after the senior captain missed last season due to an ACL injury. She would jog off the field a few minutes later.
Still, the Terps had possession and the chance to win it. And Leubecker called game, finding space and notching her fourth goal of the contest and 16th of the season — sending Maryland home with its third consecutive victory.
“Cathy always says, ‘You guys can do tough things. You guys can do hard things,’” Colson said. “It just shows for the young girls who have never really had that chance to be in that position that they really are capable and they can do it.”