In the matchup between No. 3 Maryland women’s lacrosse and No. 15 James Madison, the Terps found themselves in a position they hadn’t been before — trailing in the fourth quarter.
Maryland was down by three goals and with about 11 minutes remaining, James Madison attacker Isabella Peterson broke through Maryland’s defense for the fifth time. Peterson extended James Madison’s lead and her bench shouted variations of “We love Bella!” as the Dukes were on the precipice of an upset.
Maryland did not give up as it scored one goal in the final quarter. But, the deficit proved too much for the Terps to overcome as they fell to the Dukes 13-8 in their first loss of the season.
“She’s a great player,” senior defender Torie Barretta said of Peterson. “She’s definitely a respected player. We can learn from her as well. Respect that she was really good, you know, she did pick us apart a little bit. But yeah, we can come back, we can stop that next time.”
After falling at home for the first time in six games this season, the Terps’ overall record drops to 8-1 with the defeat.
Coming off a four-goal win over Penn on Wednesday, the Terps started this one out on an opposite note. James Madison midfielder Lizzy Fox scored her sixth goal of the season in the first few minutes of the first quarter to put the Dukes up 1-0, handing Maryland a rare early deficit in the process.
However, Maryland quickly recovered after surrendering the game’s opening goal.
Goals from junior attacker Libby May and junior midfielder Shaylan Ahearn turned the tides and gifted the Terps’ a newly found one-goal lead. The two tallies were scored just over a minute apart.
James Madison, a program that entered Saturday’s game having beaten two straight ranked opponents, still found a way to get the best of the Terps in the first quarter. The Dukes rattled off three consecutive goals with two of those coming from redshirt junior attacker Kacey Knobloch to take a 4-2 lead.
Maryland star junior attacker Hannah Leubecker shrunk the Dukes’ lead in half with her 28th goal of the season as the Terps were down by one heading into the second frame. The one-goal margin after 15 minutes was the first time all season Maryland found itself trailing at the end of one quarter.
In the second quarter, the two teams continued to exchange goals, neither finding a way to pull away.
Leubecker found two more to give herself a hat trick on the day while redshirt sophomore attacker Isabella Peterson had a hat trick of her own.
With 0.1 seconds left on the clock in the first half, Leubecker had a free position opportunity to take the lead with the game tied at six. However, her powerful shot was a little high and deflected by Doughtery as the horn sounded.
Quiet throughout the game was graduate attacker Aurora Cordingley. She had one goal and two assists marking her first game without multiple scores.
“There was a time where they put a faceguard on Aurora,” May said. “However, we have so much depth on our offense that when she was shut down, we were able to look and find other opportunities.”
However, Maryland fell behind quickly in the second half as the Dukes scored two consecutive goals for the two-goal lead. When Maryland had an opportunity down in James Madison territory, the defense made a leaping interception and got the ball back down the field in transition.
The Dukes continued to pile it on as the Terps’ offense could find no response. Maryland scored its last goal of the second quarter with 7:45 to go and didn’t record its first goal of the third quarter until there were just 17 seconds remaining.
Headed into the fourth quarter, Maryland found itself down by three with 15 minutes to protect its unblemished record.
Peterson struck first and although Cordingley tried to will the Terps to a comeback with another goal, Maryland could not find a way to stop the Dukes’ attack. James Madison outscored Maryland 3-1 in the fourth quarter alone as the Terps were unable to eventually claw back at home.
“If we execute those little things like eight meters, draw controls, limiting turnovers stuff like that, I think we’ll be able to take care of this,” May said about what the team can do take away from this game into next week.
Three things to know
1. Maryland trailed at the end of the first quarter for the first time this season. The Terps entered the matchup with a perfect 8-0 record, in which it hadn’t trailed or even tied at the end of the first quarter all season against any of its opponents. Most of Maryland’s wins have stemmed from strong starts, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday. James Madison bested Maryland in the opening quarter, outscoring the Terps 4-3 after the first 15 minutes. James Madison was riding two straight wins coming into the game and it used all of its momentum to its advantage against the Terps early on in College Park.
2. Maddie McSally got the start on Senior Day in net. Ahead of this matchup, junior goalkeeper Emily Sterling had started in all eight games for the Terps. In the last game against Penn, Sterling matched her season-high in saves with 10 which she initially set against a ranked Rutgers team but also let up 11 goals. Head coach Cathy Reese started her seniors in this one all over the field as McSally got her first start of the year. McSally allowed four goals and failed to record a save before being replaced by Sterling near the end of the first quarter.
3. The Terps struggled to capitalize on free positions as James Madison handed them their first loss of the season. James Madison was able to pull away in the second half, ultimately giving the Terps their first loss of the 2022 season. The Terps were 1-for-8 on free positions and could not find a way to breakthrough in those moments. Unable to pick up those goals, Maryland was unable to find a way to regain the lead once it lost it for the final time.
“8-meters can be the determining factor in a game and we didn’t shoot well from it and James Madison did a great job defending it,” Reese said. “That’s something I know I’ve kind of talked a lot about this year. It needs to be an area that we get better in.”
Maryland had won all of its eight games prior to its bout with the Dukes and it was also 5-0 at home before the loss. The Terps will look to Maryland will have to go back to the drawing board next week when it faces Georgetown on the road Wednesday.