After 11 minutes watching her team struggle to muster up any offense against then-No. 9 Denver — whose heavy-pressure zone made Maryland women’s lacrosse look quite uncomfortable — coach Cathy Reese saw a spark.
Freshman Kori Edmondson caught a pass on the left side of the 12-meter fan, dodged left and blew by the Pioneer defender. Once she was a step ahead, the nation’s top class of 2022 recruit curled back to the right with two defenders on her.
Edmondson was off to a cold start in her first five collegiate games, with just three goals on nine attempts. But none of that mattered anymore. She screamed downfield and fired a shot into the top shelf for her second goal of that Denver game.
“Welp, you’re not coming off the field today,” Reese recalled thinking after her first two goals.
Edmondson ended the game with her first career hat trick.
Edmondson continued her tear by notching hat tricks in her next five games. Her scores off of aggressive runs to the cage and emphatic celebratory stick slams became frequent sights for Terps’ fans.
The fiery freshman was Maryland’s second-highest scorer in this year’s regular season, even after her quiet start. But Edmondson’s journey to stardom in a Maryland jersey was in the works for much longer than those five games.
Edmondson was bound to be a Terp from a young age. She caught the eyes of Maryland greats before she reached middle school. As Edmondson grew, so did her ties to the Terps.
At her first camp, Edmondson recalled former defender of the year and current Maryland Director of Operations Nadine Hadnagy was her counselor.
“I remember her saying ‘You’re gonna be a Terp one day,’” Edmondson said.
Three-time Tewaaraton winner and former Maryland star Taylor Cummings, who would eventually coach Edmondson at McDonogh School, saw the same.
“I remember coaching Kori in Maryland’s open camp when she was like eight or nine years old, and I was still a player,” Cummings said. “She was just so good. I remember seeing her at camp and being like, ‘Wow, this kid’s going to be a stud.’”
Both Hadnagy and Cummings were right — but Edmondson hadn’t even fully dedicated herself to lacrosse at that point.
She followed in the footsteps of both of her parents, playing lacrosse like her dad, Terry, and competing as a cheerleader like her mom, Renee. As time went on, Edmondson’s passion for lacrosse kept growing — partly due to Hadnagy and Cummings.
The two helped Edmondson realize she had a great aptitude for the sport despite her own doubts. She felt she wasn’t equipped to play the sport because she was “so little.”
“I [didn’t] see that potential in me,” she said. “but they saw something in me [when I was] so young [and] that just stuck with me.”
Edmondson’s older sister, Logan, was another reason Edmondson immersed herself in lacrosse. The younger Edmondson’s enthusiasm for the sport was evident at Logan’s games.
Logan Edmondson played both lacrosse and field hockey, but chose to focus on the latter when she became a Terp in 2016. Simply seeing her sister in a Maryland jersey made Edmondson want to follow that path.
Edmondson played club for M&D Lax, a powerhouse program that’s churned out many Maryland commits. Edmondson’s father coached her through her years at M&D and still coaches there.
His playing career intersected with Reese’s husband, Brian – a connection that helped with Edmondson’s journey to College Park.
Edmondson appreciated how Reese put lacrosse aside and got to know her as both a person and player.
Because of that connection, when Edmondson became recruit-eligible her junior year, it didn’t take long for her to make a decision. She announced her commitment to Maryland the day after gaining eligibility. The choice is one Reese and the Terps remain grateful for two-and-a-half years later.
The freshman’s hat trick against Denver ignited what seemed like a new season, and was the last time Edmondson would come off the bench until the regular-season finale.
The Terps cruised to a comfortable win over unranked William & Mary in Edmondson’s first start — the first of nine consecutive Maryland victories. Edmondson posted a hat trick in all but two of them.
“Even as a freshman [she’s] a leader for us on the team,” Reese said three games into the win streak. “She’s just not afraid. She’s not gonna back down from anyone.”
Edmondson’s 25 goals over the nine-game win streak and 34 goals on the season both rank second on the team.
She’s also shown staggering efficiency, shooting 59.5 percent throughout the streak. In those matches, the freshman had Maryland’s second-highest expected goals added — a Lacrosse Reference metric that looks to detect a player’s value.
“She’s great to have playing both ends of the field,” Reese said. “A lot of middies these days aren’t doing both ends, they’re either offensive-minded or defensive-minded. And she’s getting it done on both ends, which is huge.”
Edmondson hasn’t always had that balanced skillset, particularly early in her career at McDonogh.
She and Cummings spoke after her high school freshman season and the coach’s message was clear: if Edmondson wanted to play on both sides of the field, she’d have to put in a lot of work on the defensive end.
So she did, shifting her focus to that side of the field for McDonogh, M&D and training sessions with Logan. Her work ethic impressed Cummings — one of the best two-way midfielders ever.
“I think Kori is a player who just never settles. She’s always pushing and looking to improve and get better.” Cummings said. “She was really dedicated to honing her craft on that side of the ball so that she could make the impact that she wanted to.”
Her desire to improve comes from the internal fire instilled in Edmondson by her family.
“We all have an edge and I think that just kind of passed down,” Edmondson said. “We’re all just a competitive family, which sometimes is good and sometimes bad when it comes to family dinners and stuff.”
Her passion couldn’t have been more apparent in the fourth quarter of Maryland’s 13-12 victory over Johns Hopkins, with a setup that was very similar to her second score against Denver.
She once again started on the left, dodging before cutting back in and shooting. But this time, Edmondson attacked even harder, had a tougher angle and faced a more smothering defense.
It still didn’t stop her.
The goal ended up being the game-winner and Edmondson’s celebratory stick slam was even more aggressive than it was against the Pioneers.
Maryland, on the verge of losing a home conference game for the first time in Reese’s 17-year tenure as coach, chose to put the ball in Edmondson’s stick.
It didn’t matter to Reese that she’s just a freshman. And it surely didn’t matter in Edmondson’s eyes either. The moment showed she could show up in big spots, and the goal is likely just one of the many impactful scores she’ll have in her Maryland career.
“We see her in big moments like that — not shying away from contact, not shying away from the physicality of the game. She’s attacking the pressure that they’re giving her and she finishes,” Reese said. “I trust Kori all game long.”