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Maryland women’s lacrosse earns No. 2 seed in 2022 NCAA Tournament, receives first-round bye

Maryland used an 11-1 second half to secure the Big Ten Championship and finish undefeated in conference play.

Photo Courtesy of Zach Bland/Maryland Terrapins

Maryland women’s lacrosse has been named the No. 2 overall seed in 2022 NCAA Tournament. This has earned the Terps a first-round bye, setting up a second round home matchup on May 15 against the winner of Johns Hopkins and Duke.

This marks the 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for head coach Cathy Reese, who with the team’s 18-8 victory in the Big Ten championship game on Sunday against Rutgers, reached 300 career wins in College Park.

Overall, the Terps have missed the tournament just once since joining the Division I ranks as an independent under Sue Tyler in 1983.

Aside from a lone blemish on March 26 against James Madison, the Terps enjoyed a phenomenal bounce back campaign after being eliminated in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament by the Duke Blue Devils.

A 17-1 record was accompanied by a perfect slate in the Big Ten. Backed by five All-Big Ten first team members, including transfers Aurora Cordingley and Abby Bosco, Maryland navigated a difficult schedule to earn a top-eight seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Cordingley became one of six Maryland players in the program’s history to surpass 100 points in a single-season, finishing with 111 points (62 goals, 49 assists) and 16 alone across two Big Ten Tournament games. Bosco also enjoyed immediate success after spending her undergraduate years elsewhere, leading one of the nation’s top defenses in caused turnovers while also proving her poise on the draw.

Bosco, coupled with a breakout season from junior goalkeeper Emily Sterling (who led the country in save percentage and allowed double-digit goals only once all season), spearheaded a spectacular unit that allowed a minuscule 7.62 goals per game.

The team’s stellar defense translated to offense too, as Maryland possessed one of the country’s most potent attacks to complement its imposing defense. Junior attacker Hannah Leubecker followed up a 58-goal sophomore campaign with 53 goals. Fellow junior attacker Libby May reached the 50-goal plateau too, scoring 51 times.

All the pieces gelled together after an up and down 2021 season. The leadership of graduate midfielder Grace Griffin and graduate defender Tori Barretta, who was lost for the season due to a torn ACL, helped guide an inexperienced, yet battle-tested squad.

By earning a top-three seed in the field, the Terps are guaranteed home postseason games through the quarterfinals if they are to advance that far. They get the first round off before beginning their quest for more hardware next Sunday against either Johns Hopkins or Duke.

In head coach Janine Tucker’s final season, Johns Hopkins sneaks into the tournament as one of the last four teams in. The Blue Jays finished 10-8 on the year and played Maryland twice this year — losing by 11 goals in the regular season and by eight in the Big Ten semifinals.

Duke returns to the tournament now on the outside looking in of its potential matchup against Maryland. The 15-3 Blue Devils hosted the Terps in the second round of the last year’s tournament and will have to get past Johns Hopkins in order to have the chance to knock head coach Cathy Reese’s squad out of the postseason for the second straight year.

Friday’s first round game will take place at 3 p.m. The second round matchup in which Maryland will await the winner will start at 2:30 p.m. Both games will be played at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.