No. 3 Maryland women’s lacrosse shocked on senior day, lose to James Madison, 13-8

Leading by four goals with 1:30 remaining, the James Madison players began to raise their arms in celebration as fans who traveled to College Park gave them a standing ovation.

In that same moment, Maggie Clark scored inside, putting the icing on the cake for the Dukes. The crowd and bench erupted, as James Madison had spoiled Maryland’s senior day. 

On a day set for the celebration of Maryland women’s lacrosse’s seniors, the No. 3 Terps instead left the field in shock as they were knocked off at home by No. 15 James Madison, 13-8.

“We’ve definitely got some work to do,” head coach Cathy Reese said.

Maryland’s starting lineup was unlike any they had sent out all season. On the team’s senior day, Maryland sent out seven seniors for the opening draw–many of which had never started a game for the team.

Just like against Rutgers, Maryland found themselves trailing after giving up a goal on the opponent’s first possession. Lizzy Fox scored on a quick pass inside, causing the Dukes’ bench to erupt in celebration.

James Madison’s celebration didn’t last long — Libby May and Shaylan Ahearn’s opening goals silenced the chirps from  the Dukes’ bench.

Isabella Peterson provided an immediate response and tied the game up moments later. The Dukes’ kept its foot on the gas. Kacey Knobloch’s goal gave James Madison its second lead of the quarter.

Unlike in recent games, Maryland had a strong start on the draw control. Maryland won five of the first six draws. However, Maryland’s turnovers on offense were mounting early. 

With five minutes left in the first, James Madison scored again, giving them a two-goal lead, and Reese was forced to make a change in goal. Senior Maddie McSally’s day in the cage was done after allowing four goals and not making a single save in the process.

Hannah Leubecker scored for Maryland, but they still trailed 4-3 heading into the second.

Leubecker continued her hot offensive play into the second quarter. First she notched the equalizer, and then five minutes later, she captured her hat trick, giving Maryland the lead back.

The action continued to go back and forth.

Peterson scored her second of the day for the Dukes, tying the game up at five. On Maryland’s next possession, Aurora Cordingley found May cutting in front of the goal for the second time. May whacked Cordingley’s pass into the back of the net with a tennis-like volley, as Maryland regained the lead for the third time.

Peterson, however, continued to terrorize Maryland’s defense. The Dukes’ attacker scored her third goal of the first half and tied the game with little time remaining before the half. 

 An action-packed first half ended with both teams tied at six, only the second time this season Maryland didn’t have the lead at halftime. 

Maryland came into the second half hoping for a shift in momentum. James Madison wanted no part in that, as they scored on their first possession of the second half. The Dukes’ lead extended to two when Katie Checkosky ripped a bullet into the top-right corner on her free-position shot. 

Maryland hadn’t trailed in the second half since they did against Virginia in its second game of the season. In an unfamiliar position, the Terps’ resilience was undergoing another test.

Reese could only call a timeout in frustration when Checkosky scored again moments later, extending the Dukes’ lead to three goals.

“I think we need to do a better job executing what we set out to do,” Reese said.

As the third quarter wound down, the Terps were still scoreless in the second half. After surrendering another Peterson goal, Maryland trailed by four. 

With 15 seconds left in third, May scored a much-needed goal for Maryland. With that, Maryland headed into the fourth quarter trailing for the first time all season.

James Madison’s run continued into the fourth quarter. Peterson’s fifth goal of the afternoon extended the Dukes’ second-half run to 5-1. 

It started getting late early for Maryland, as with 10 minutes to play, the Terps trailed 11-7.

After being held without a goal all day, Cordingley finally broke the ice on a free-position shot. Cordingley’s goal was critical, but Maryland still trailed by three.

James Madison’s defense was aggressive all game long. Protecting the lead in the fourth, the Dukes’ elected to face guard Cordingley to prevent her from even possessing the ball. Maryland continued to struggle against James Madison’s zone defense and the Dukes began to smell a huge victory coming their way.

Used to connecting free-position chances, the Terps couldn’t find that success when they needed it. Maryland had eight free-position opportunities in the game, but only converted on one of them.

“Terrible,” Reese said following the game. “We didn’t shoot well from it and James Madison did a great job defending it.”

As time expired, the Dukes’ bench stormed the field in ecstatic celebration as they knocked off the Terps on the road.

“Losses really teach you something,” May said. “We’re just looking forward to getting another game and being able to execute and do the little things.”

Maryland’s first loss of the season is also the fifth loss at home ever for Reese.

“When you’re put on the line, you’ve got to make it count,” Reese said. “That’s something we need to do a better job of.”

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