During Maryland women’s lacrosse’s dominant third quarter against Virginia, a Cavalier defender tried to block attackers’ path to the net. The graduate student spun out of her way and toward the goal.

Her ensuing shot found the back of the net to tie the game at nine.

In preparation for their second consecutive game against a top-ranked  opponent, the Terps are hoping to use the experience and talent of Aurora Cordingley and other veteran players to come out on top.

“Aurora is really controlling our offense,” coach Cathy Reese said. “When she has the ball in her stick, she’s dangerous.”

In its first home game of the season, Maryland will host Florida on Saturday. The Terps last played Florida in 2020, where they lost, 15-14, in what was then their first home loss since 2012.

The No. 5 Terps are 2-0 after defeating Saint Joseph’s and Virginia on the road. This weekend, they’re looking to continue their winning streak at home. 

[Maryland women’s lacrosse passed its first true test against a worthy Virginia foe]

Maryland faces new hurdles this season in the form of  rule changes. Over the summer, the NCAA made the switch from two 30-minute halves to four 15-minute quarters in women’s lacrosse.

“A quarter kind of kills the momentum a bit,” Reese said.

To combat this shift, the team is working on staying consistent throughout the entire game. Leadership from graduate co-captains Grace Griffin and Torie Barretta, alongside transfers Cordingley and Abby Bosco, figures to be crucial in keeping steady.

Bosco, Cordingley and Griffin were all named to the women’s watchlist for the Tewaaraton Award at the start of the season. Junior Hannah Leubecker is also on the watchlist.

involvement of the more experienced players helps the younger players on the field stay focused and consistent for all 60 minutes of the game.

After big scoring runs and droughts against Virginia, Maryland hopes to improve their shooting this weekend.

Against the Cavaliers, the Terps took 35 shots with 29 of them on goal. In the season-opener, Maryland had 34 shots on goal out of 41 shots against the Hawks.

[Maryland women’s lacrosse uses dominant third quarter to down No. 10 Virginia, 17-13]

“We’re going to have to pick our shots accordingly and need to make sure we’re taking advantage of the opportunities that we get,” Reese said.

Cordingley led the team against Virginia with eight shots on goal. Against Florida, Reese wants her to “step up” and be a vocal offensive leader against the Gators’ powerful goalkeeper and defense.

Reese’s team wants to play consistently on the defensive end, relying on Barretta and Bosco to keep defensive shifts disciplined and clean.

“With defense everyone kind of has to talk, but to be a leader is a different kind of talking,” Barretta said. “I’ve just had great leaders ahead of me so it’s been easy to fit into that leadership role on defense.”

Playing the first two games of the season on the road gave the team the opportunity to improve and “build that foundation” before their home-opener, Reese said. The squad is energized to play in front of their friends and family against a tough Florida team.

“That we’re here playing alongside such amazing teammates and players and women, I think it’s just a fun experience,” Griffin said.