Maryland players celebrate with their team
Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

RECAP: Maryland women’s lacrosse rides dominant second half to win over Ohio State, 14-8

After conceding eight goals in the first half alone, it appeared Maryland’s defense hadn’t shown up in Columbus. 

The second half was a completely different story.

 The Terps’ defense dominated, holding the Buckeyes’ offense scoreless for the entire second half.

In an almost perfect second half, Maryland broke away with a 7-0 run as the No. 8 Terps won its fifth straight game, defeating Ohio State, 14-8.

“A good win for us,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “We struggled a lot in the beginning, we had a tough first half getting it together defensively.”

After a poor start against Princeton, the Terps’ offense flipped the script — jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first couple of minutes.

Maryland’s hot start didn’t last for long, as Ohio State scored back-to-back goals, tying the game in just two minutes. Ohio State’s run continued when Sophie Baez scored with a woman-up following Maryland’s yellow card.

Since Maryland’s first two possessions, the Terps’ offense was unable to even get a shot off before the Buckeyes could net their fourth unanswered goal.

The Buckeyes’ 4-0 run featured scores from all different players. Maryland’s hot start regressed into another early hole to climb out of.

“We were competing against ourselves out there,” Reese said.

Finally, Aurora Cordingley slowed the bleeding, scoring her first of the day. Cordingley followed up her goal with a crisp assist to a cutting Hannah Leubecker. Leubecker’s score was the equalizer for Maryland.

Although Maryland was getting outshot early, all four of its shots on goal found the back of the net.

Maryland finished the quarter on a 3-0 run when Libby May scored her second of the afternoon with 50 seconds left in the quarter. After one, the Terps led, 5-4.

Ohio State tied it up in the second quarter’s opening minute, but Maryland regained the lead with a quick response. Following a turnover, Shaylan Ahearn forced one right back on the ride. Ahearn made one pass to Leubecker, who weaved through traffic and finished in front for the goal.

A few minutes later, Ahearn scored on a free-position shot, making it a two-goal swing in the Terps’ favor.

The game continued to go back and forth. After a six-minute scoring drought, Ohio State scored two goals in three minutes to tie the game once again. 

Ohio State’s run continued, as Ali Beekhuizen found the back of the net on a free-position shot, giving the Buckeyes the lead for the second time of the half.

The first half was an unprecedented one for the nation’s save percentage leader, Emily Sterling. Sterling only accumulated three saves after 11 Ohio State shots on goal.

“They put us in positions that made it hard for us to defend, and we didn’t help [Sterling] out a lot in the cage,” Reese said.

Just before the half, Cordingley gave the Terps some positive momentum, scoring on a free-position shot with 32 seconds to play. At the break, both teams were level at eight.

After a high-scoring first half, the third quarter became a defensive showdown between the two teams. 

“Ohio State in the first half was driving really hard and moving the ball quickly,”  Reese said. “At halftime, we came out, our [defense] locked down and we were sliding when we needed to.”

After multiple scoring chances for Maryland that were shutdown by Ohio State goalie Regan Alexander, Ahearn finally put one past her on a free-position shot with 1:37 to go in the quarter. 

“I think a lot of times, that one play can kind of just shift momentum,” Ahearn said. 

Less than a minute later, Cordingley notched her third goal of the afternoon, pushing the Terps ahead by two heading into the final quarter.

Cordingley continued the Terp takeover. Her fourth goal of the game pushed Maryland’s run to 4-0 with under 13 minutes to play.

“I thought our offense really demonstrated a lot of patience today…When we work the ball around, we find openings and we’re able to score,” Reese said.

As time began to run out for the Buckeyes, Leubecker and Griffin each added scores, extending the Maryland second-half run to 6-0. It may have taken longer than Reese had liked, but the Terps had finally broken away.

I think we all knew we had to pick it up,” Griffin said. “I think we knew that we were capable of better and I think it was just coming together and deciding to play together.”

In the final minutes, Maryland’s defense continued to dominate. For the second time this season, Maryland’s defense went an entire half without allowing a single goal.

“Just playing as a team and playing as a unit, trusting yourself and trusting each other,” Ahearn said.

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