Freshman midfielder Grace Griffin led the Maryland women’s lacrosse team with a career-high four goals en route to a 15-12 win over No. 4 James Madison on Saturday.
After a snowstorm postponed the Terps game against No. 8 Penn to Thursday, the Terps had a quick turnaround to face yet another top-ranked opponent.
“It was a really great challenging week for us,” senior attacker Megan Whittle said. “Really proud of the way that this team has progressed. Every game we’ve gotten better and I think that’s the point of the season.”
The much-anticipated game brought a record crowd to the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex, with 2,361 fans in attendance at Maryland’s annual JDRF Awareness Game for Type 1 Diabetes.
“It’s nice to be back home and the amount of fans we had out here today was awesome,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “To break [the] attendance record and have it on a day for us where we’re raising money for a charity that’s close to our team’s hearts I think was a pretty cool day.”
Early in the first half, the Terps had plenty of shot opportunities but could not capitalize on two free position shots. After a shot clock violation, the Dukes quickly sprinted the length of the field, where JMU senior Elena Romesburg scored the first goal of the game.
Terp freshman Grace Griffin answered with a goal only a minute later to even the score, and Whittle cashed in on a free position shot in the sixth minute.
Romesburg scored her second of the game after the Terps gave up a foul in the defensive half, but the Terps countered with junior midfielder Jen GIles’ first goal assisted by senior attacker Taylor Hensh.
Following a goal from JMU senior Morgan Hardt to even the score, the Terps answered with two straight goals to take a 5-3 lead, breaking the back-and forth pattern that formed in the first 15 minute.
After a yellow card on the Dukes, the Terps scored just over a minute into the man-up period with a goal from Hensh and brought their lead to three.
Just when momentum seemed to be leaning toward the Terps, the Dukes’ offense sprung into action. The Dukes’ leading scorer, senior Kristen Gaudian, scored back-to-back unassisted goals to cut the Maryland lead down to two.
Whittle and Giles scored the next two for Maryland to end the half with a 9-5 lead.
The two teams swapped goals to start the second half, with Steele picking up her second, as well as sophomore attacker Kali Hartshorn’s first goal on the day. The Terps capped off their three-goal run as Griffin became the first Terp to tally a hat trick in the game, but the Dukes answered with two straight goals from Haley Warden and Hanna Haven.
Both Griffin and Whittle added another goal to the stat sheet each on free position shots, marking Griffin’s fourth.
“I think it’s more just our team working together and my teammates finding me open in the middle,” Griffin said. “I just get in there and finish and help my team out any way I can.”
But the Dukes were staging a comeback. Gaudian’s fourth goal of the game and a goal from senior Katie Kerrigan brought the Dukes within three with 11 minutes left in the half and with just over six minutes to go, Warden scored her second goal to bring the score to 14-12.
With two minutes left in the game, Steele came in clutch for the Terps with a goal, her third, to give the Terps a three-goal lead that would last until the end of regulation.
While the Terps usually dominate on the draw control, they met their match at the draw circle in JMU. The Terps finished with 16 draw controls while the Dukes earned 13. The Terps had 18 turnovers and 22 fouls in what was a hard-fought battle to the finish.
“They’re a very physical team, talented defense,” Whittle said. “But we were able to stick it out and that goal by Steele was really good momentum for us at the end.”
The Terps will be back in action on Wednesday when they host the Georgetown Hoyas at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex at 6 p.m.
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