Shaylan Ahearn has set plenty of impressive marks in the draw circle — in just the last three weeks, the senior joined the illustrious 200-draw control club, has had three games with double-digit draws and tied her single-game best with 14 against Drexel.
But in Maryland’s road matchup against Villanova Saturday, she had a career-day on the attack, matching her career high of three goals in the first half.
Ahearn’s third gave Maryland a four-goal lead in the second quarter, one they didn’t look back from. She combined with a dominant defense to guide the Terps to a 15-6 win over the Wildcats — marking the fourth straight game where Maryland held its opponents to single digit scoring.
“We tightened things up. We came out and we were communicating well, we were sliding. Villanova has some really talented offensive players,” coach Cathy Reese said. “We had to step up and just communicate through a lot of their picks and slips.”
Villanova came into Saturday averaging 12.2 goals per game, but the Terps held them to half of that. The Wildcats registered just 16 shot attempts and had 17 turnovers, nine of which were recorded as caused turnovers for Maryland.
“Defensively, we stuck to the game plan, and we were able to force turnovers, whether it was bad passes or interceptions on our part … That was huge,” Reese said.
After Villanova’s second goal with 6:26 remaining in the first period, Maryland’s defense allowed just one more score until the final ten minutes. The Wildcats scored three times, but it was too little too late.
In the second period, one of Maryland’s best of the season, the Terps defense recorded four caused turnovers while Villanova fired just three shot attempts.
Three of those came from Abby Bosco. The defender led the Terps in caused turnovers and was tied for the most ground balls, as she and Marge Donovan each scooped three.
Bosco also added seven draw controls, second on the team. Her fifth of the day was number 200 of her career, tallying 81 at Penn and adding 121 as a Terp.
Above her was Ahearn, who had 10 draw controls. That’s not too far from the norm for Ahearn, but Saturday she showed her goal-scoring skills and tied her career high of three goals.
“I think that all week in practice we’ve been emphasizing having a nose for a goal, like really attacking hard to open up everyone else,” Ahearn said. “It wasn’t just me attacking hard, but also my teammates going hard, that kind of allowed me to have those openings in the first place.”
Freshman midfielder Kori Edmondson and senior attacker Libby May also recorded hat tricks for Maryland.
Edmondson entered the day on a hot streak. After scoring just three goals in her first five games, she’s notched 10 in the last three including three tallies Saturday.
Her scoring was key as Maryland was without attacker Hannah Leubecker due to lower body soreness, per a team spokesperson. Leubecker’s 19 points and 15 goals ranked third and second among the Terps respectively coming into the game.
Maryland’s attack notched a flurry of opportunities — firing 39 shot attempts — thanks to Ahearn’s success in the draw circle and a slew of Villanova fouls. That allowed the Terps to build a formidable lead despite the fact that aside from Ahearn and Edmondson, the Terps were quite inefficient early.
Coach Cathy Reese’s squad scored on just nine of its 22 first-half shot attempts. Ahearn went 3-for-4 and Edmonson went 2-for-4 but the Maryland offense had just six goals until May joined in on the fun and potted two in 28 seconds to expand the lead to six.
To Reese’s delight, seven different Terps scored, and six had multiple points by the end of the day.
“Our score sheet was pretty balanced again, and that was great to see,” Reese said.