By Harrison Rich
Maryland women’s lacrosse coach Cathy Reese has a benchmark that she wants her offense to consistently reach by the end of each game.
“My goal, I want to be over 50 percent every time in shooting,” Reese said after the Terps’ 15-6 win over Villanova on March 11.
Despite ranking third in the Big Ten in shots per game, Maryland has struggled to capitalize on a lot of its opportunities. The team entered its bout against Georgetown ranked third to last in the conference in shooting percentage.
But against the Hoyas Wednesday, the Terps’ offense was the story. Maryland recorded 13 goals on 23 shots — a percentage that exceeded Reese’s benchmark. Despite tying the Hoyas in shot attempts with 23, the team’s offensive efficiency was apparent as the No. 11 Terps downed Georgetown, 13-4.
“I’ve been talking all year about our shooting and how we need to be better with it,” Reese said. “I thought we were much better today shooting as far as 8-meters go and … to be over 50 percent [shooting] is what you want to be.”
[Draw controls and discipline help Maryland women’s lacrosse overcome shooting woes]
The Terps and Hoyas were even in shots on goal through the first period with five each. But Maryland’s stifling defense, namely Emily Sterling and her four early saves, limited Georgetown to just one goal in the opening period.
After the defense was the story out of the gates, Maryland’s offense quickly took the spotlight in the second quarter. The Terps began moving the ball downfield after mainly scoring off of free position shots early. The increased offensive tempo led to Maryland rattling off four goals in the first eight minutes of the second period. The Terps sported a shooting percentage of 64 percent by the end of the first half.
Midfielders Kori Edmondson and Jordyn Lipkin each recorded a hat trick –– their second and fourth of the season, respectively. Six others reached the scoring column as the Terps’ deceptiveness with the ball led to Georgetown making just four total saves.
After recording three goals through her first five collegiate games, Edmondson has broken out to the tune of 13 in the last four games, recording a hat trick in each one. The former No. 1 recruit in the nation has forced the hand of her head coach, earning starts in each of the last three matches.
[Maryland women’s lacrosse’s defense, Shaylan Ahearn shine in 15-6 win over Villanova]
With the offense having its way, Sterling held up her side of the bargain, reaching the double digit saves mark for the first time this season. The senior recorded 15 total saves and prevented the Hoyas from gaining offensive momentum.
“I really think our defense just stuck to the gameplan,” Sterling said. “I feel we really gave up what we wanted to give up and force the shots that we wanted to force, which put me in a position just to do all the cleanup work.”
Georgetown’s four scores tied for the lowest number of goals the Terps have allowed this season. Sterling clogged up all shot angles from inside the net and left the Hoyas without an answer offensively.
“I love our growth defensively,” Reese said. “We have a lot of new faces down there … So we just needed some time to really get our feet under us and figure out how to play the style of defense that [assistant coach] Lauri Kenis, who runs our defense, likes to coach.”
While Maryland was far from dominant in the draw control column, a usual staple of its gameplan, efficient offense and suffocating defense within the 8-meter arc gave the Terps its 13th straight victory against the Hoyas.
“I know that my shooters are capable of excellence and being awesome,” Reese said. “And I know that they’re able to finish on the plays.”