Chrissy Thomas has spent lots of time waiting on Maryland women’s lacrosse’s sideline — the junior attacker played in just five games before Saturday’s season opener, and hadn’t even registered a shot attempt. But as Maryland and Saint Joseph’s lined up across the eight-meter arc for a free position shot with the ball in Thomas’ stick, it was her time to shine.
As soon as the whistle was blown she swerved around two defenders from the left side, ducking under their sticks. Thomas roamed left to avoid entering the crease but somehow found the top right corner to earn her first career goal.
That was just the start of Thomas’ breakout performance, scoring twice more to end with a hat-trick and an assist. Thomas was just one of several Terps to have ‘firsts’ in the season opener, as many unfamiliar faces stood out for the Terps in No. 2 Maryland women’s lacrosse’s victory.
[No. 2 Maryland women’s lacrosse blows past Saint Joseph’s in season-opener, 15-5]
“Offensively, I think we saw a lot of things from a lot of different players,” coach Cathy Reese said. “’It’s just nice to see just different people contributing … we’re really working on our depth, and I think we have that to continue to push us forward as we head into the season, so great start today for the Terps.”
Thomas wasn’t the only Terp to score her first NCAA goal. Freshmen midfielders Emma Muchnick and Jaylen Rosga found the back of the net in their debuts.
Rosga, who Inside Lacrosse ranked as the No. 7 recruit in the class of 2022, notched two goals, the first of which was one of the more impressive scores of the day.
Libby May found Rosga cutting over the middle from the right side, who caught the ball, sharply planted her left foot down and spun back around to create space from the overcommitting Saint Joseph’s defender.
With her stick parallel to the ground, a turning Rosga whipped a sidearm shot past the Saint Joseph’s goalie.
“It’s absolutely electric being surrounded by my best friends every single day, so then for us to be able to get out on the field and put all of our hard work to the test and play together as a team, it was just so exciting,” Rosga said. “And I was just so grateful to be out there.”
For Thomas, it was that hard work and long wait that made the moment so special.
“It felt good because we worked really hard all season, and we’re putting all the pieces together and working really well together. So it’s just fun to be out there,” Thomas said.
[Maryland women’s lacrosse aims to replace Aurora Cordingley’s attacking output by committee]
Just like the offensive side, Maryland’s defense was full of firsts.
Both Kennedy Major and Clancy Rheude redshirted last season as injuries kept them out for the year. Still, it didn’t look like there was any rust either of them needed to shake off.
In their first game suiting up for Maryland, each of the pair caused two turnovers and were the only Terps to cause multiple. Major also scooped up four ground balls, tied for the team high, and Rheude snagged two.
Rheude is a redshirt junior, and transferred to Maryland from Albany ahead of the 2022 season after being named America East Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2021.
Major is a redshirt freshman and was the top ranked defender in the 2021 recruiting class, and Saturday marked her first game post-injury as well as her first collegiate appearance.
Major, Rheude, Rosga and Thomas were each unfamiliar faces on Maryland’s side. But if the production Saturday is a sign of what’s to come, that should change quickly.