Brindi Griffin was so excited that she accidentally threw her stick to the ground. It was like she had just scored the winning goal. And in a sense, she had.
With little time left, Maryland women’s lacrosse was down one goal to Johns Hopkins, in the midst of a scoring drought that lasted longer than 23 minutes. Coach Cathy Reese called a much-needed timeout with 3:01 remaining and drew up a play that put the game in the hands of captains Brindi and Grace Griffin.
Grace set a screen, and Brindi built space from the Blue Jays’ Jeanne Kachris as she charged inside the attacking area, before finishing the game-tying goal in the bottom corner of the net.
A key defensive stop by keeper Emily Sterling gave the Terps possession with less than a minute to go.
Reese called another timeout.
The play was the same, but now Brindi would set the pick while Grace would take the ball out.
And as the ball met the back of the net, Grace and Brindi both dropped their sticks to celebrate, having galvanized their squad to a 9-8 win over Johns Hopkins in the season’s final home game.
“I was just really confident that she was able to get open [and] get that shot off, and now it was my time to step up,” Grace said.
The seniors’ late scores capped off big performances from both as they combined for six of the team’s nine goals with postseason play looming.
Brindi scored a season-high four goals against the Blue Jays, including two goals in the final five minutes of the first half, giving Maryland its first lead of the day.
“I love playing with [Brindi],” Grace said. “She works so hard. That we were both able to step up and take that position, that leadership role on the field and put it in the net, that’s what it’s all about.”
Grace bookended scoring for the Terps, notching a solo goal in the opening period and then slotting away the winning score, bringing Maryland the second 9-8 victory it’s had against Johns Hopkins this season.
Throughout the season, Grace has been a force across the field for the Terps, scoring 17 goals, leading the team in assists and sitting in second for ground balls and caused turnovers.
Grace and Brindi have brought stability for Maryland game to game, commonly being the ones to pull their young team up when they’ve fallen into a difficult spot.
“Coming out of the timeout, I had all the confidence in the world in her,” Brindi said. “I knew she was going to be able to score it. Stepping into a moment like that and having confidence in your teammates means everything.”
After burying her shot past Kathleen Garvey, Grace locked eyes with Brindi, a wide smile on her face, and screamed into the light rainfall. The two shared a hug and a brief celebration before planning for the ensuing draw control.
It was the final home game of Brindi’s storied career. As a two-time national champion, captain and Preseason All-American, Griffin returned in 2021 for her fifth season and has been instrumental in keeping Maryland strong in a rebuilding year.
For Grace, it was another chance to show she is one of the best in the nation. The Sykesville native announced last week she would return for a fifth season, giving the Terps one more year with their midfield general.
And to Grace, games like this mean an awful lot.
“That’s what you want,” she said. “You want to compete. These games that come down to the wire — yes, it’s fun to win by 10 goals … but also it’s fun to compete, to have that challenge and win with your teammates.”