Then-No. 8 Maryland women’s lacrosse was up 9-6 over then-No. 20 Johns Hopkins on April 2 when the goalie deflected away a shot on goal by junior attacker Libby May.
The ricochet off of graduate goalkeeper Kathleen Garvey’s stick didn’t travel far as the ball lay vacant right in front of the cage. Enter freshman midfielder Jordyn Lipkin, who flew in from the right edge and scooped up the loose ball.
As she completed the motion with a not-so-smooth tumble, the ball had already found the back of the net to cap off an impressive feat of focus and scrappiness from the youngster.
The goal was emblematic of Jordyn Lipkin’s fierce competitiveness. But to those who know her, it was just another routine play from the one they call “Sporty Jordy.”
Across just 11 games, Jordyn Lipkin has already solidified herself as the glue to this lineup. The Short Hills, New Jersey, native has showcased a raw skillset and tenacious end-to-end play that has set her apart from most first years.
Growing up playing all types of sports with her two siblings — older brother Ben and identical twin sister Ally — there was always a competitive balance.
“I think our son Ben is the reason they’re so competitive,” Jeff Lipkin, Jordyn’s father, said. “He never treated [Jordyn and Ally] any different. He played them as hard as he played his friends.”
With the three being so close in age, whether it came to playing hockey in the driveway or whatever new game they could come up with in the basement, there was always room for parity.
“It was never, ‘who was going to come up hurt or bruised,’ it was just, ‘when is it going to happen,’” Jordyn’s mother Jayme Lipkin said. “There were tons of holes in our ceiling and wall,” Jeff Lipkin added.
After a few summers of patching up the basement, Jeff and Jayme decided to put pads up on the walls like in a gymnasium. The padding protected both the infrastructure of the Lipkins’ basement as well as the kids.
Jordyn Lipkin’s love for competition got her involved with three different sports by middle school. But the three slowly dwindled down to one.
Basketball was the first to go, as Jordyn Lipkin chose to direct her attention on lacrosse in the winter. That special attention didn’t eliminate her second sport, soccer, but Jordyn Lipkin had still made up her mind to trade in the shin guards for protective goggles.
“For a while I thought that I was gonna play soccer in college,” Jordyn Lipkin said. “I remember one day in seventh or eighth grade [I told my mom] ‘I kind of like lacrosse more.’ I would be at soccer practice thinking about lacrosse.”
In high school, Jordyn Lipkin spent a fourth of the year playing soccer and the remaining portion perfecting her lacrosse craft with a tick in her hand.
“[Soccer] was the first sport I ever started playing, so it was a nice break to have,” Jordyn Lipkin said. “I never thought about dropping out ... it makes you a better all-around athlete.”
As the eighth-ranked recruit in the Class of 2021, the jack of all trades chose to join a storied Maryland program — a place her hard-nosed personality could thrive on and off the field.
“I wanted a place where the team was your people and that’s what it felt like here,” Jordyn Lipkin said. “I felt like I would fit in here really well lacrosse wise and academically, and the environment was just what I wanted.”
Off the field, Jordyn Lipkin had to go through some growing pains. College is a major adjustment for anybody, but leaving behind an identical twin sister is an obstacle in itself.
Ally plays nearly 200 miles away at Penn State. Going from doing everything together to having to learn to be independent was a challenge for both Lipkin twins. What got them both through it was connecting back to their roots in competition.
“Having that person that can help you push through those moments and stay strong and keep working hard was one of the best parts of our competitiveness at such a young age,” Ally Lipkin said.
Jordyn mirrored Ally’s words as she pushed through the freshman transition. Without her twin to lean on, however, Jordyn found solace in her teammates and the fellow freshman going through a similar situation.
“Everyone here is missing something at home,” Jordyn Lipkin said. “Within the freshman class we talked a lot with each other whenever someone was upset ... it really helped me get through a lot of things in the beginning.”
“Being at Maryland and being part of her new lacrosse family has built strengths where she previously had weaknesses. She as a person has evolved and grown through this experience and has become more independent than she ever was,” Jeff Lipkin added.
That maturity helped Jordyn Lipkin settle into College Park, eventually translating to the field.
Jordyn Lipkin has done a little bit of everything this season. With 12 goals, five assists, 13 ground balls, seven caused turnovers and 11 draw controls, she has emerged as a breakout star for the Terps in 2022 and for years to come.
“We’re seeing her confidence hit a point where she’s not afraid to do what she know she can do,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “She loves the sport, she loves to compete every practice, she wants to do anything she can to help Maryland win.”
She has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice and earned Big Ten Midfielder of the Year honors for her performance against Rutgers on March 20. In the conference opener, Jordyn Lipkin tallied five points, setting career-highs in both goals (3) and assists (2).
“She’s just a sponge,” graduate midfielder Grace Griffin said. “I love how she’s always asking questions and going hard no matter what.”
Much like how she took the road less traveled with her high school experiences, Jordyn Lipkin focuses on the little things throughout the game rather than making the flashy play.
“Being someone that disrupts is not even necessarily how much skill you have,” Jordyn Lipkin said. “It’s honestly how much you hustle and that’s something you can control every day. No matter what is happening on offense or defense, I’m going to try to keep that consistent.”
But even with this refined approach, highlight plays just come naturally to the midfielder. Her play has been a huge boost to a Terps team that has been ranked in the top-10 all season and she will look to replicate her first Big Ten performance against Penn State on Thursday.
It is then that the Lipkin twins will play against one another for the first time ever. While it will be unfamiliar territory, the confidence and independence Jordyn Lipkin has added to her repertoire since joining the Terps has certainly set the standard.
“No matter what they do in practice, she’s going to go and put more reps in before and after,” Jayme Lipkin said. “She’s not ever looking to cut corners, she will do whatever it takes to grow and evolve herself.”