No. 8 Maryland women’s lacrosse needed to come out with a bang after dropping its first game of the season. It was Georgetown who got caught in the blaze as the Terps fired off 15 goals and allowed just three in a major bounce back victory.
The defense was the catalyst, as junior goalkeeper Emily Sterling made six saves en route to her ninth win of the season. Her performance also marked the seventh time the Terps have allowed single digit goals on the season.
Sterling wasn’t alone, however, with Inside Lacrosse’s Midseason First Team All-American member Abby Bosco and senior defender Maddie Sanchez anchoring the stellar outing. Graduate attacker Aurora Cordingley then led the offense, supplying five goals and three assists after putting up her lowest point total in a Maryland uniform against James Madison.
Cordingley donned the blue and white during her first four years of collegiate lacrosse at No. 20 Johns Hopkins. Now, the standout attacker will have her first chance to go up against her former team.
It’s a top-20 showdown in Baltimore as the Terps look to finish off their two-game road stint with a key win. The game is scheduled for Saturday at noon and can be watched on ESPNU.
Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (6-5, 0-2 Big Ten)
Head coach Janine Tucker has been in the lead position since being hired in August 1993, helping the Blue Jays’ transition from Division III to Division I. Tucker surpassed the 300 win mark last season, adding another milestone to her five IWLCA Regional Coach of the Year awards. Since joining the Big Ten in 2017, Hopkins has been a steady presence at the top of the conference’s standings. Last season, Tucker’s squad went to battle with Maryland three times, with all three matchups being decided by one goal.
Players to know
Graduate midfielder Shelby Harrison (No. 23) — With the three top goal-scorers from 2021 gone, the Blue Jays needed someone to step into the lead offensive role this season. That player has been Harrison, who along with her prowess on the draw circle, has led the team in goals (24) to this point. Just over a third of her 63 shot attempts have been from the eight-meter, a testament to Harrison’s toughness around the cage.
Graduate defender Jeanne Kachris (No. 21) — One of three Inside Lacrosse Midseason All-American honorable mentions on the roster, Kachris has been a menace on the defensive end. She is second in the Big Ten in caused turnovers per game (1.91) while also ranking in the top-10 in ground balls per game (1.91).
Senior defender Annika Meyer (No. 22) — Meyer rounds out a fantastic backline as the second in command behind Kachris. It’s been a great rise for the senior after starting just twice during her freshman campaign. Meyer has caused 14 turnovers on the year and paces the team in ground balls (25), which puts her fifth in the Big Ten on a per game basis.
The little things. Johns Hopkins is an excellent end to end team that does all the little things extremely well. The Blue Jays corral loose balls with their tenacity and their defense is no stranger to frustrating opponents. They rank top-three in the conference in both ground balls and caused turnovers per game. While those two stats tend to work symbiotically, the proficiency in both suggests a team that thrives in the trenches.
Initializing offense. Causing turnovers is one way to get the ball rolling on offense, but Johns Hopkins struggles to generate its offense from the jump. Its draw control per game mark (12.09) ranks dead last in the Big Ten, thus prompting a conference-low 11.18 goals per game. This is especially good news for a Maryland squad that has been struggling on the draw of late, who over its last five games hold a -12 margin on the draw.
Three things to watch
1. Aurora Cordingley returns to Homewood Field. Cordingley compiled 182 career points (116 goals, 66 assists) during her time with the Johns Hopkins program. Now it’s time for her to take the field in the red, white and gold. Her familiarity with the program could give Maryland an early edge in this matchup. Cordingley is also two goals away from surpassing her 2021 goal output of 39.
“It’ll be exciting to see how they have changed on offense and defense,” Cordingley said. “I’m excited to see my friends, but treating it like any other game.”
2. The status of Torie Barretta. In the second quarter of Wednesday’s game versus Georgetown, Barretta exited the contest with an apparent knee injury. She was helped off the field and did not return. One of the leaders of Maryland’s stout defense, it will be worth monitoring to see if she will be ready to go on Saturday.
“We’ll wait and see how things progress through the week and we’ll take it one day at a time and see where we go,” head coach Cathy Reese said.
3. Can the defense continue its tremendous chemistry? More to the point of Barretta’s questionable status, the defensive unit for Maryland will have to adjust if Barretta is ruled out just as they did against Georgetown. The communication was flawless, forcing the Hoyas into difficult shots. That has been the case all season, but a conference game could throw a wrench into the game plan.
“We stuck to the game plan, we worked together as a unit and I think that was the biggest thing for us,” senior defender Maddie Sanchez said following the victory over Georgetown.