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Maryland women's lacrosse beats Johns Hopkins, 10-8, in exciting game

Top-ranked Maryland trailed at the half for the first time all season, but surged ahead late and fended off a hungry Blue Jays squad to stay undefeated.

Noah Niederhoffer

Maryland trailed at the half for the first time all season, but battled back in the second half to beat Johns Hopkins, 10-8, on Wednesday night at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park.

The Blue Jays scored the first goal of the game, but Megan Whittle responded for the Terps just a minute later. Dene` DiMartino scored two straight to give Hopkins a 3-1 lead, but Caroline Wannen and Whittle brought Maryland back. Hopkins milked a lot of clock before retaking the lead at 4-3. The Blue Jays tacked on two more goals, the last of which came on a DiMartino free position attempt with 19 seconds left in the first half.

While Maryland dominated the draw in the first half, 8-2, the Terrapins had seven turnovers. Hopkins shot the ball at a 60 percent clip in the game's first 30 minutes, while Maryland only converted three of its 11 shot attempts. For the first time all season, the Terrapins trailed going into the half.

Maryland's Taylor Hensh scored the first goal of the second half, but DiMartino answered for Johns Hopkins. Stukenberg added a goal of her own 23 seconds later and tallied another score around 90 seconds after that. Jen Giles tied the game at 7 apiece with 17:12. DiMartino scored her fifth goal of the game to give the Blue Jays the lead back, but Kacie Longo and Hensh scored in a span of 70 seconds to give the Terp their first lead of the game.

Maryland's defense came up big. Johns Hopkins had possession in the Maryland third three different times in the last 15 minutes of the game. The Blue Jays turned the ball over in all three of them.

Taylor Cummings, the first player to win Big Ten Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week honors, scored her only goal of the game with 2:59 left to play. She also had an assist, three ground balls and seven draw controls. It looked very possible that she was going to be held scoreless for the first time since Maryland's loss to Ohio State in last year's Big Ten tournament.

"That was a hell of a good game," said Janine Tucker, Johns Hopkins' head coach, after the game. "I think they were two very well-matched teams...My kids executed our scouting report to the letter." I talked to her before the game and she said that her game-plan was to slow the game down. The Blue Jays did just that. They seemed to be in control in the first half and what was even more impressive is that they looked like they were making Maryland uncomfortable.

Tucker also said that shutting Cummings down was an unbelievable team effort and that both teams left everything out on the field.

Maryland head coach Cathy Reese said that she didn't think Maryland played particular poorly.

"We were shooting, just not into the back of the net," she said. "That ability to come back in the second half was huge." The Terps made adjustments in the second half on offense and defense that made a big difference.

Reese said the team needed to push through adversity.

"We needed to fight through and we needed to learn how to win a game when we're shooting 30 percent...Our returners led the way," she said.

Zoe Stukenberg, a junior captain and midfielder, summed it up best:

"Just because we have Maryland on our jersey doesn't mean that we're going to win the game...We couldn't just show. We had to really go."

Three things to know

1. Maryland played its worst first half of the season

The Terps allowed six goals in the first half, the most they've allowed in the first half all season long. They also scored a season-low three goals in the first half as well. Maryland turned the ball over seven times in the first half. "Too many," Reese said, echoing the comments that she made last weekend against Cornell.

2. Dene` DiMartino and Caroline Federico almost led Johns Hopkins to a win by themselves

DiMartino scored a goal with under 20 seconds left to play in the first half to give the Blue Jays a 6-3 lead going into halftime, and she scored two goals in the second half, the last of which gave Hopkins an 8-7 lead. Her five goals were the most that Maryland has given up to a single player this season. "She's a beast," Tucker said. "One of the best players in the country."

Federico was playing out of her mind. She limited the Terps to three first-half goals on their home turf, the fewest Maryland has scored in the first half this season. She also had seven saves in the second half, creating a great duel with Maryland's freshman goalie Megan Taylor. DiMartino and Federico were fantastic tonight.

3. Maryland's defense stood tall when the Terps needed it the most

When Maryland was trying to come back in the second half, Megan Taylor made big saves in goal and the defense forced turnovers. After Longo's goal to tie it up and Hensh's goal to take the lead, Hopkins took the ball into the Maryland third three times in the last 15 minutes. The Terps pressured the Blue Jays into three consecutive turnovers.

Nadine Hadnagy, a junior captain and defender, said that the team's trust in each other made a huge difference on the field tonight. "I think our defense and our attack have good, strong leaders and they trust us. If they make a mistake, they know that we have their back. If we make a mistake, we know that they have our back. There's a lot of trust on and off the field because we're very close on and off the field. I think that makes all the difference when we're playing out there together."