No. 4 Maryland women’s lacrosse topples No. 12 Rutgers, 16-6

Late in the fourth quarter, Maryland was looking to put away Rutgers for good. The ball moved quickly over to Jordyn Lipkin with room to work.

Lipkin made a quick move to the right and rifled in a shot for the score. The freshman’s third goal of the day put the nail in the coffin on the Scarlet Knights.

No. 4 Maryland women’s lacrosse was faced with their toughest challenge yet, but the Terps rose to the occasion, trouncing No. 12 Rutgers, 16-6.

“I’m just really happy with our performance today,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “I think we had a lot of ups and downs, overcame some obstacles, but really huge to come out with a win at home against our first conference opponent.”

Maryland found itself in unfamiliar territory after Rutgers’ first possession. After losing the opening draw, Maryland was trailing for the first time since they fell behind at Virginia in the second game of the season.

Marin Hartshorn ripped a shot from the left side that found the back of the net, giving Rutgers the early lead.

Maryland didn’t waste any time with the response.

On the next draw, the ball got away from everyone and found the stick of Hannah Leubecker. Leubecker started the break and found Aurora Cordingley sitting wide open in front of the cage.  Cordingley buried her shot and the Terps were back even.

Just seconds later, Cordingley found herself with an open net once again. In a matter of less than a minute, Maryland took the lead, 2-1.

Maryland continued to find success in transition. Following multiple defensive stops for Maryland, Leubecker continued her dominance. 

On a free-position chance, Shaylan Ahearn elected to whip a quick pass to the left side. Leubecker caught Ahearn’s pass and ripped a shot into the top-left corner. Leubecker scored again three minutes later, as Maryland took a 4-1 lead after the first. Maryland’s scoring run got up to as many as five before Hartshorn scored her second and ended the run.

Early in the second, Libby May scored and Leubecker added her third to extend Maryland’s lead to 6-2.

With three minutes left in the half, the Scarlet Knights caught a much-needed break.

During a loose ball situation, Cordingley came sprinting in trying to get the groundball to go the other way. However, she tripped, and she fell into Rutgers’ offensive zone, giving Rutgers a free-position shot. Cassidy Spilis scored on the attempt and cut Maryland’s lead in half.

Grace Griffin provided the Terps some extra breathing room before the break netting a goal. Maryland’s defense stood tall on the final possession for Rutgers, as they took a 7-3 lead at the half.

For the second week in a row, Maryland fell behind in the draw control category to its opponent. Rutgers had the advantage in control, but was unable to capitalize against the Terps defense.

The third quarter was a wild ride of emotions for both teams. Maryland held a four-goal advantage, but the lead quickly started to evaporate. After Spilis scored her second goal, Hartshorn continued the Rutgers run. 

On a typical free-position attempt, the attackers get a running start as they head to the goal. However, Hartshorn took the unorthodox route. Hartshorn didn’t even take one step before she ripped a shot into the top-left corner. Quickly, Maryland’s lead was just two, at 7-5.

Reese had seen enough and she took a timeout to talk things over. Coming out of the timeout, Maryland found a big-time response.

Instead of coming from her usual role from behind, Cordingley instead took the ball at the top. Cordingley spun off her defender and found a cutting Lipkin. Lipkin’s shot as she was falling away found the back of the net. Lipkin followed up her goal with a second, on a free-position shot.

“Lipkin’s been someone I keep telling people just to keep her eye on,” Reese said. “She came in today and made a huge difference for us. She’s an excellent shooter.”

Rutgers was aggressive all game long and it was reflected in the officiating. The Scarlet Knights finished the day with six yellow cards, as opposed to one for Maryland.

“Our main thing was just keeping our cool during that time, because obviously, you get a little heated out there when there’s a lot of fouls happening,” goalie Emily Sterling said.

Maryland ended the third on a 3-0 run and held a 10-5 advantage. Rutgers opened up the fourth with a goal of their own, but it was all Maryland from there on out.

Maryland took its time offensively and capitalized on open looks around the goal. Meanwhile, Rutgers’ coaches were dismayed as the yellow cards continued to amount on their squad.

In a dominant fourth quarter, Maryland finished the game on a 9-1 run after Reese’s timeout in the third.

Maryland was dominated in the draw control category, 17-9. Nevertheless, Maryland’s defense put up a sound effort, playing a huge part in Maryland’s first conference win of the season.

“Credit to our goalie. Emily certainly played a phenomenal game today,” Reese said. “I thought our defense played a great game.”

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