No. 5 Maryland women’s lacrosse lost just five of its 165 home games with Cathy Reese at the helm entering Sunday’s bout against No. 9 Denver — the program where Reese earned her first head coaching job.
Reese was also 2-0 coaching against Denver, who the Terps had beaten in each of their four all-time matchups. But in their third match-up since Reese returned to Maryland, Denver edged out the Terps, handing them a rare home loss and the program’s first ever loss to the Pioneers.
After falling behind 7-3 with 10:14 left in the third period, three consecutive Maryland goals by Eloise Clevenger, Hannah Leubecker and Kori Edmondson shrunk the deficit to one entering the final period. It took some time, but the Pioneers answered back, scoring the first goal in the fourth with 6:00 on the clock. Maryland trailed 8-6.
But a Denver yellow card with 1:59 left in the game put the Terps in a strong position, as they’d be a woman-up for the remainder of the game with a free position shot awaiting. Victoria Hensh converted on the free position, scoring and cutting the Maryland deficit to just one.
The Terps had chances to tie the game up — Edmondson fired a shot off with 0:53 remaining, but was saved by Denver goalie Emelia Bohi. About 30 seconds later, Leubecker caused a turnover, snagged the ground ball and got an attempt off, but was fouled. The Terps were rewarded with a 12-meter attempt, but turned the ball over.
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The final result for Maryland (3-3) was an 8-7 loss to Denver (6-0), and marks the second straight defeat for the Terps, who lost with an identical score four days ago against No. 12 James Madison.
Maryland did have chances throughout the game, firing away 23 shot attempts. Only 14 were on goal, and only seven found the back of the net. The Terps were just 2-of-8 on free positions and committed a season-high 17 turnovers.
Reese’s squad is now shooting 39.2 percent on the season and has made 47.1 percent of its free position attempts.
“I don’t need to tell you our shooting wasn’t where it needs to be. We can’t be 2-for-8 on eight-meters, we can’t be less than 50 percent from anybody,” Reese said. “[These things] are minor details that make big differences.”
Maryland knew scoring could be a rarity heading into the game. Denver entered the bout allowing an average of 5.4 goals per game and scoring an average of 8.4 goals per game.
The Denver defense was stout against Maryland — proven by the inefficiency and turnovers — but Edmondson, the top recruit in the nation, had the best game of her young Maryland career.
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Edmondson scored a career-best and team-high three goals and a career-best three draw controls. Abby Bosco also won three draw controls.
Bosco did it all for the Terps defensively, snagging three ground balls and tallying two caused turnovers. Both were team-highs and tied for the game-highs.
Playing behind the defense was reigning IWLCA Goalkeeper of the Year Emily Sterling, who recorded eight saves. It was the first time since Maryland’s season-opener over three weeks ago that Sterling had a save percentage of at least 50.
Reese expressed her pleasure with the defense’s performance, as well as Sterling’s, who she refers to as the anchor of the group.
On the attack, there weren’t many high points for Reese to note aside from Edmondson’s strong outing.
“Tough day for us, we fell a goal short. We’ve seen just a lot of similar struggles as we’ve gone through the season,” Reese said. “There’s some good things to take out today for sure, but obviously, [there are] some changes we need to make.”