Hannah Warther rushed the outside of the attacking area with Maryland women’s lacrosse in a deadlock with Rutgers. Neither team had been able to dictate the game in the opening stretches, but Warther was about to take over.
She finished her run, getting enough space from her defender to rocket a shot over the head of the keeper and start an offensive run that juiced the Terps offense out to an early lead.
Warther’s big first half and one of the Terps strongest shooting performances of the season gave No. 9 Maryland the rebound it was looking for with a 14-12 win over the No. 23 Scarlet Knights.
“It was such an awesome feeling,” Warther said after the game. “I got in my feels today with senior night. I’m just so grateful for the past five years as a Terp.”
Seniors ran the game for the Terps, as they showed much more consistency on offense in their victory shooting .483, their best total since shooting over .500 in both contests with Michigan in late February.
It was all Warther in the first half for the Terps. The attacker celebrated senior day by scoring four goals in the opening period. She was efficient from the eight meter, slotting away two free position shots.
She finished her hat trick in 14 minutes, her third of the season. The finishing touch was a dump off to Libby May at the top of the attacking area before looping around for a run across the face of goal.
“We’ve been through everything together these last five years,” Brindi Griffin said. “So seeing her do so well on the field, I absolutely love it.”
[Maryland women’s lacrosse’s clash with Rutgers will be won and lost in the draw circle]
May had one of her own in the first half from a free position shot, that kept Maryland ahead 3-2 early on.
The first of 3 goals from Marin Hartshorn leveled the game at three 12 minutes into the game. From there, the Terps took over. Warther started off a 5-0 run for Maryland, featuring goals from Griffin and Hannah Leubecker.
The Terps shot .571 in the half, above the 50% threshold Coach Cathy Reese is constantly pushing for.
“Hannah Warther came out shooting, she was on fire,” Reese said. “These guys were really ready to step up.”
Maryland’s defense had a tight hold on the Scarlet Knights, in no small part to the work of Madison Hine in goal, who was lights out in the middle part of the opening period.
Thanks to Hine and the work of some fresh faces in seniors Laurie Bracey and Kylie Davis, the Terps held Rutgers scoreless for 14 minutes and looked to be leading one of the best defensive performances all season.
But the final five minutes were anything but clean.
Hartshorn started a 4-0 run in fleeting moments of the first half, rocketing a long shot past Hine before finishing her hat trick on a speedy run through the heart of the attacking area. Goals from Hannah Hollingsworth and Cassidy Spilis sent the game to halftime with the Terps leading by a far narrower 8-7.
“That’s the consistency piece we talk about a lot as coaches,” Reese said. “We’re still working, we’re still learning. We need to make these adjustments, we need to be more consistent moving forward.”
[Coming off ugly loss, Maryland women’s lacrosse saw strides in its defensive effort]
Maryland came out of the break aggressively, quickly finding Brindi Griffin and then Catie May in transition for goals. Meanwhile, Emily Sterling took back her typical spot in the cage for the remainder of the game.
But Rutgers slowed the pace back down, causing three turnovers in the midst of a deadlock on both sides of the field. Julia Lytle and Cassidy Spilis were able to close the gap back to one as they took advantage of man-up play and slow build ups.
Libby May and Catie May linked up for a second time to put some distance from the improving Scarlet Knights. Shay Ahearn added another, giving Maryland some crucial goals as time was running thin.
However, Rutgers made it clear they weren’t going anywhere, as Hartshorn assisted two goals in quick succession. Freshman keeper Sophia Cardello kept them in with a huge save, swallowing a rocket from Warther in the final minutes of the game.
Hollingsworth completed her hat trick on another Hartshorn set up to level the game at 12 with only a few minutes left to play.
The goal that broke it all was off of a botched save from Cardello, who was unable to get her stick to a blocked free position by Ahearn.
Brindi Griffin put the finishing touches on her senior day, taking advantage of an empty net and putting the Terps in the win column.
“Playing on senior day with all of those girls was just so bittersweet,” Griffin said. “All of us are just so fortunate to be here.”