Images from the Florida Gators vs. Maryland Terrapins lacrosse game on Thursday, February 14, 2019 at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL / Photo by Matt Pendleton for Maryland Athletics

Strong start propels No. 2 Maryland to 17-12 win over No. 4 Florida

Ever since taking over at Maryland head coach Cathy Reese has had unprecedented success, and tonight Reese won her 250th game defeating another ranked opponent. In her 11 years at Maryland, Reese has a staggering 250-21 record. The Terps (2-0) led from start to finish, including scoring the first five goals of the game led by the attack trio of senior Jen Giles, senior Caroline Steele and junior Kali Hartshorn who each finished with four goals.

A point of emphasis entering the game for Maryland was draw-control, and it was an important key for the Terps tonight. Hartshorn and junior defender Lizzie Colson won 20 draw-controls for Maryland, while the Gators won 11. In addition to winning possessions for Maryland, Hartshorn provided valuable offense.

Graduate transfer Erica Evans got the scoring started for Maryland just 1:30 into the game, the first of six different players to score a goal. Evans goal was the first of five for Maryland in the first seven minutes.

Despite Maryland seeming in firm control of the game, the Gators clawed their way back scoring four consecutive goals and forcing the Terps into a 15-minute goal drought. Sophomore attacker Grace Haus and senior attacker Lindsey Ronbeck led the comeback for the Gators, cutting the Terps lead to just one. At the half, the Terps led 7-5 while outshooting the Gators 21-14 and winning 10 draw controls compared to three for Florida.

Just 46 seconds into the second half, Ronbeck scored her second of a team-leading five goals on the night. Despite the Gators further trimming the lead, Maryland’s veteran group maintained confidence scoring four goals in the next 1:14 and catapulting its lead to five once again. Similar to the first half, four different players scored goals for Maryland, continuing the offensive balance from the first half. The potent senior attacking duo of Giles and Steele added two more goals, giving Maryland its largest lead of the game seven.

However, the Gators still would not go away scoring consecutive goals to cut the lead to five once again, the closest Florida would come for the remainder of the game. Back-to-back goals from Hartshorn and junior midfielder Hannah Warther finished off the hopes of a Gator comeback, once again increasing the lead to seven. It was Warther’s first goal of the season and the fifth goal of her career.

Junior attacker Brindi Griffin led Maryland with four ground balls a career high, helping maintain possessions for the Terps. In addition, Maryland was strong in the clearing game going 18-18 and not allowing the high-octane Gator offense easy transition opportunities.

Now the Terps will return home with more than a full week of preparation to take on No. 3 North Carolina next Sunday at 12:00 p.m at Maryland Stadium.