Coach Cathy Reese entered SECU Stadium without a single home conference defeat in her 16 years as Maryland women’s lacrosse’s head coach. The threat to take her first loss on Wednesday night was very real.
After a 6-1 run to enter halftime, where Maryland led 9-4, the momentum flipped completely — the Terps looked completely depleted, failing to score and allowing five goals to enter the final period tied at nine apiece.
The final quarter wasn’t shy of drama either, with three lead changes. Both teams went tit-for-tat, but in the end, Reese’s 16-year streak stayed alive on Wednesday night.
No. 10 Maryland women’s lacrosse (11-3, 3-0 Big Ten) narrowly defeated Johns Hopkins (5-7, 2-2 Big Ten), 13-12. The win was the Terps’ eighth consecutive victory and keeps Reese’s squad atop the Big Ten standings alongside No. 2 Northwestern.
“[I’m] proud of how we finished that strong. They had all the momentum for a while and we found some answers and so I think this is a real game of growth for our team,” Reese said. “They outplayed us in that third quarter for sure, but I’m proud of how we really just gutted that out.”
Junior attacker Eloise Clevenger, who leads Maryland in points, was out of Wednesday’s contest due to a family emergency, and her presence was certainly missed early on for the Terps.
Maryland amassed just three goals in the first period and entered the second quarter tied with Johns Hopkins. But the Terps came to life after the opening 15 minutes, outscoring the Blue Jays 6-1 in the second frame.
Chrissy Thomas, Maryland’s second leading assister behind Clevenger, stepped up in her absence and led the way for the Terps in the first half. The junior notched a career-best four assists and added a goal of her own with another 30 minutes still left to play.
“We worked really hard together. Things were just opening up and working in our favor and I think Johns Hopkins did a good job of adjusting to us but we figured it out and did a good job in the end,” Thomas said.
Midfielder and draw specialist Shaylan Ahearn also had a strong opening half. The senior captain scored two first-half goals to extend her scoring streak to seven games and tallied five draw controls in the first two periods, where Maryland led the draw battle, 11-4.
Ahearn, along with Libby May and Kori Edmondson, finished the game with a hat trick.
Then the disastrous third quarter struck, and the two teams entered the final period tied.
May found the back of the net for the first Maryland goal in the second half nearly 20 minutes after halftime, but it took Johns Hopkins just a few minutes to tie the game back up at ten.
“We’d been in a drought forever, it was man-up and Libby scored and that’s exactly what we needed in that moment,” Reese said. “That’s your senior leadership right there stepping up.”
After the previous two quarters were blowouts, the final frame was a back-and-forth battle between the Terps and the Blue Jays.
Each team scored twice before May’s second fourth-quarter score gave Maryland a 12-11 lead with 5:36 remaining. Then an Edmondson score less than a minute later gave Maryland a two-score lead.
But Hopkins hit back, scoring with 2:10 on the clock, again making it a one-goal game.
In the end, Maryland would hold onto the lead and breathe a sigh of relief as the final horn sounded.