With a one-goal lead early in the fourth quarter, Maryland aimed to do what it failed to accomplish throughout the entire game — pull away.
Despite trailing for the entire game, Michigan was always able to keep itself back in the game, never trailing by more than four and cutting the Terps’ lead to just one late in the game. That was until Maryland’s fourth quarter offensive barrage.
Shaylan Ahearn curled around the crease to the left side, but spotted a cutting Chrissy Thomas on the right. Ahearn was able to fling a pass across her body while running the opposite way, putting the ball on a platter for Thomas to score.
The goal gave the Terps a small two-goal cushion, but it was the first of a 5-0 Maryland run that closed out the game. The Terps’ late scoring outburst helped Maryland (10-3, 2-0 Big Ten) secure its seventh consecutive win with a 13-7 victory over No. 15 Michigan (9-5, 2-2 Big Ten).
Two of those goals came from Libby May, who led the Terps’ winning effort by scoring five goals on five shots.
“Michigan is a very physical and skilled team so we needed to embrace that and attack it rather than just getting back on our heels,” May said. “[When we] trust each other throwing those passes inside, I think that’s when we really start to see success. So it was exciting, I think you saw it in our celebrations, it’s just fun to convert on this, especially when [the defense is] coming up with such great stops.”
[No. 10 Maryland women’s lacrosse’s early offensive outburst downs No. 17 Princeton, 15-11]
Maryland’s defense got off to a hot start, as it took Michigan over seven minutes to register its first shot attempt and tallied three turnovers in that span.
Even though the Terps out-drew the Wolverines 6-0 in the first period, Maryland wasn’t able to take advantage, finding the back of the cage on just three of its 11 shots and leading by one run.
The Terps were only able to fire off four shots in the second frame, but converted on two of them to take a 5-3 lead into the break.
Some of the low scoring could be attributed to strong play in the cage, as Michigan’s Maya Santa-Maria and Maryland’s Emily Sterling rank first and second in the Big Ten in save percentage, respectively.
Santa-Maria — who was named an honorable mention in Inside Lacrosse’s midseason All-American teams — had seven first-half saves.
Sterling, the reigning goalkeeper of the year, was not one of the nine goalies listed. Much of that could be attributed to a rocky start of the season from Maryland’s defense.
Sterling allowed 53 goals and tallied 33 saves in the Terps’ first five games. In the last eight games, she’s allowed 60 goals and tallied 79, good for a 56.8 percent save percentage over that stretch. She continued her stronger recent form with 12 saves and only seven goals allowed against the Wolverines.
[No. 10 Maryland women’s lacrosse downs No. 24 Penn in comeback, 16-12]
A 5-1 Maryland run over almost 23 minutes of play gave the Terps a 7-3 lead over Michigan and appeared to give them firm control early in the second half. But the Wolverines bit back, scoring three consecutive goals to shrink the lead to one midway through the third frame.
However, Michigan’s offense quickly dried up again, scoring only once more after its third-quarter flurry. A Wolverines attack that entered the day coming off of a 22-goal outing but didn’t have the same fortune against the Terps, scoring on just seven of their 24 shot attempts.
“We’ve been working towards [playing strong defense for the complete game] all season and I think it’s really starting to click for us,” Bosco said. “It’s a long season, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. So what better time for us than here in Big Ten play?”
Maryland took advantage of its solid defense and pulled away from Michigan on the offensive end, ending the game on a 5-0 scoring run that included a pair of finishes from May as well as goals from Thomas, Victoria Hensh and Shannon Smith.
The Terps’ comprehensive fourth quarter secured their seventh straight win and their second Big Ten win of the season, advancing to 2-0 in Big Ten play.
“We came out against a tough Michigan team and I knew it was going to be a battle,” coach Cathy Reese said. “I love the way that we continued to attack, I thought we made some great defensive stops. So overall, it’s just a good day, a good day in College Park.”