Maryland women’s lacrosse was right where they were last time against Johns Hopkins.
Tied at eight, needing the game winner.
In their 9-8 overtime win last month, it was Hannah Leubecker who played hero. This time it was Grace Griffin.
Griffin took the ball out of a timeout with under a minute to play. The captain worked her way toward the cage before launching a sidearm shot that was well beyond the reach of Blue Jays’ goalie Kathleen Garvey.
The goal by Griffin gave the Terps another 9-8 win over Johns Hopkins and a crucial victory with just one game remaining in the regular season.
“That was really just awesome,” coach Cathy Reese said. “I don’t have another word for it.”
Griffin, who announced last week that she will return for another season with Maryland, bookended the game with goals, scoring the opener for the Terps and finding the go-ahead goal.
After last month’s nail-biting win over the Blue Jays, the Terps looked to be in for another defensive battle, as both teams forced turnovers on the opening two possessions.
Hopkins’ Lexi Souder opened up scoring by slotting away a lowball after almost 10 minutes of scoreless play. Johns Hopkins would get the next one too, with Maggie Schneidereith finding the Blue Jay’s leading scorer Aurora Cordingley in the attacking area.
The Terps finally got things started when Grace Griffin juked her way through the opposing defensive unit and scored her 16th goal of the season.
What then ensued over the next 11 minutes was one of the worst stretches of offensive play Maryland has had this season.
Before the Terps could find the net again, they shot just 8.3 percent with just 36.3 percent of their 12 shots being on target.
“It’s like a problem I can’t solve right now,” Reese said with a laugh. “We’re trying, we’re trying.”
Hannah Warther was the one to open the floodgates toward the end of the period, finishing a shot over the shoulder of the Blue Jay’s keeper on a woman-up advantage.
Less than a minute later, Brindi Griffin finished her first of two goals in the half, ripping a sidewinder past the goalie. Her second goal was another lowball that threaded the needle between two defenders.
Schneidereith would pull one back for Johns Hopkins in the fleeting minutes of the period, keeping the Blue Jays within one at halftime.
The Terps came out of the break swinging with Leubecker’s goal, then Catie May and Brindi Griffin would get scores of their own in the first four minutes of the half.
It was a welcome few minutes for Maryland, as they began to carve a small lead for themselves, but the goals stopped flowing.
A 23-plus-minute scoring drought gave the Blue Jays ample chances to get back in the game, working their way to four straight goals, three of which came from Cordingley’s stick.
“Hopkins were switching things up on defense and making us kind of stay on our toes,” Grace Griffin said. “Making sure that we weren’t surprised … not letting the little things get to us, overcoming those little setbacks and knowing that we had to focus on the next play.”
Her fourth goal gave Johns Hopkins its lead back with under eight minutes to go. Time on the shot clock ticked down, and she got the ball away with one second remaining for the crucial goal.
Brindi Griffin put her Terps back in it with just a few minutes left, working her way toward the cage before scoring her season-high fourth goal of the match.
Grace Griffin would find the winner out of a timeout, taking it all on her own. Lizzie Colson won the ensuing draw, and Maryland drained the little time left on the clock, completing the season sweep of the Blue Jays and moving to 7-4 on the year.
“It’s so special,” Brindi Griffin said. “Hopkins is a great team so I’m so proud of all the girls that played today. How we came out and how we fought until the end. It was really exciting.”