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No. 8 Maryland women’s lacrosse neutralizes Georgetown, 15-3

Graduate attacker Aurora Cordingley was brilliant for the Terps again with five goals and three assists.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Fifty seconds. That’s how long it took junior midfielder Shaylan Ahearn to put Maryland women’s lacrosse on the board to start the second half of its Wednesday night matchup against Georgetown.

It had been a game of fast starts for the Terps to that point, as graduate attacker Aurora Cordingley scored 48 seconds into the game in the first and junior attacker Kate Sites opened the scoring in the second period after 58 seconds had gone by.

Even after a dull second period featured just two goals from the Terps, Ahearn’s quick goal was followed by an even faster score by sophomore attacker Eloise Clevenger to start the third off with a bang.

Ten seconds after Ahearn made it 8-1, a loose ball trickled into the attacking third following the opening draw. Cordingley was the one to scoop it up, eventually finding Clevenger for another “blink and you’ll miss it” goal.

Coming off of its first loss of the season, Maryland responded with ruthless aggression, easing its way to a dominant 15-3 win over Georgetown on Wednesday night.

It couldn’t have been a better start for Maryland. Ahearn collected the opening draw before Cordingley scored her 34th goal of the season 48 seconds into the game. After a pair of Georgetown possessions came up empty, a beautiful transition play off of a caused turnover set the pace.

Graduate Torie Barretta traded turnovers with sophomore defender Melissa Massimino, eventually jarring the ball loose for sophomore midfielder Shannon Smith to scoop up. The ball ended up in junior attacker Libby May’s stick, with a great dodge and right-handed route to the cage rewarding the Terps with an early 2-0 lead.

The duo of May and Cordingley took off from there, alternating goals in a dominant first period of play. After junior attacker Hannah Leubecker had missed the first free position of the game prior to Maryland’s fourth goal (scored by May), Cordingley delivered with 2:51 remaining to bring the total to five goals.

Five turnovers were the lone blemish in a dominant first period. But the second period produced a significant lull period for Maryland offensively.

While it didn’t seem like the surge would end after Sites scored 58 seconds into the quarter, the Terps would endure an 11:56 drought before Cordingley scored her fourth of the game.

In that time, Georgetown scored just one goal, a testament to Maryland’s terrific defense. But what stuck out during the scoreless stretch was a trio of turnovers following forced turnovers of their own.

Maryland gained a lot of opportunities from forcing the Hoyas to cough up the ball, but the Terps could barely get the ball rolling after those occurrences. The offense stalled at every chance it could get — from transition, to set pieces, to giveaways by the Hoyas.

What did get the offense going, however, was the urgency off of the draw circle. Two goals in the opening minute of the half set the tone for another jolt of scoring for the Terps.

Leubecker capped off the 3-0 start at the 12:33 mark as Cordingley registered her seventh point of the outing with an assist from behind the net — her signature spot. Leubecker caught the high pass and rifled it through the legs of junior goalkeeper Emily Gaven, putting the Terps up, 10-1.

May and Cordingley continued to pad their stats with goals 11 and 12, but it was the defense that shined the brightest in the quarter.

The defense forced a shot clock violation early in the quarter. Goalkeeper Emily Sterling then got in on the action, saving two of the Hoyas’ four shots through the third.

Maryland’s backline of graduates Abby Bosco and Barretta, senior Maddie Sanchez, and junior Brianna Lamoureux were the catalysts down the stretch. They forced the Hoyas into difficult shots and any decent looks at the cage were denied by the anchor in Sterling.

Georgetown was able to sneak by two garbage-time goals in the fourth quarter, but Clevenger and Smith took back those goals with 3:39 and 1:26 left to play, returning the final margin back to 12 goals.

Three things to know

1. Never count out a Cathy Reese-led Maryland team, especially following a loss. A disappointing result against James Madison clouded the prestige of the Maryland women’s lacrosse program only for a brief moment. Reese gets her players ready and it was on full display in Wednesday night’s outing in the nation’s capital. The offense was humming and the defense allowed three goals — the second-lowest amount of the season. It was a typical showing for a Reese-led squad following a game that landed in the loss column.

2. Free positions approach saw improvement. While its four attempts are a sample size in comparison to its eight attempts against James Madison, those chances looked much more comfortable and fluid. Maryland cashed in two goals from the eight-meter, putting the team at 50 percent and 28-for-64 on the season.

3. Another Wednesday to Saturday layoff awaits. Maryland produced a dud of a performance following its Wednesday outing last week. How will they manage the weekend blues this time around? A tough defense came into College Park to knock the Terps off of its pedestal last Saturday. This Saturday, Maryland travels to a tough environment in addition to playing a stout Johns Hopkins defense allowing just 9.73 goals per game.