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Maryland women’s lacrosse 2023 season preview

The Terps enter the season ranked No. 2 in the nation.

2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Semifinals Photo by Greg Fiume/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

By Ryan Alonardo

Last season, Maryland women’s lacrosse continued to cement itself as one of the elite programs in the nation.

In total, the squad posted a 19-2 record over the span of three and a half months. Just a year after bowing out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Duke, the Terps rebounded and won their first eight games of the season. Among those included statement victories against No. 11 Virginia, No. 7 Florida and No. 12 Rutgers by a combined score of 51-27.

No. 15 James Madison ended their scorching-hot start, who defeated the Terps, 13-8, despite hat tricks from Hannah Leubecker and Libby May. It was their first win over the Terps since 2003.

Fortunately, Maryland proved resilient and did not lose a game for the rest of the regular season. In their last seven games, the Terps beat four ranked teams: No. 20 Johns Hopkins, No. 12 Princeton, No. 12 Northwestern and No. 21 Michigan. Their 15-9 win over Northwestern captured their sixth Big Ten regular-season championship.

In Big Ten Tournament play, top-seeded Maryland swiftly took care of business, first by defeating Johns Hopkins, 14-6. It then compounded this success against Rutgers, where it went on a 12-0 scoring run en route to an 18-8 victory.

Maryland entered the NCAA Tournament as the third-ranked squad in the nation. It seized its first two games of the tournament against No. 13 Duke and No. 7 Florida rather handily. Its exit came after a nail-biting defeat to Boston College by a score of 17-16, in which the winning goal came with just 18 seconds left in regulation.

Despite the heartbreaking end to the season, Maryland has a lot of success to build on. There’s no doubt the second-ranked Terps are primed for another run at a national title.

Key losses

There may be no bigger loss to any team in the nation than Aurora Cordingley’s to the Terps. Cordingley, who graduated this past spring, transferred from Johns Hopkins in 2021 and made quite an immediate impact. The All-American attacker led the Terps in scoring and notched 67 goals and 51 assists over the course of the season.

Another monumental loss was Grace Griffin, the Terps’ star midfielder. An All-American, she was the first three-time captain in team history, serving from 2020-2022. Griffin also posted 28 goals in her First Team All-Big Ten campaign last season. Grace graduated last spring.

Another graduate departure was defenseman Torie Barretta. Baretta started all 17 games her senior season and earned 2021 IWLCA Second Team All-Region honors. In her graduate season, Beretta continued her production, totaling 21 ground balls and nine turnovers. Unfortunately, she suffered a season-ending ACL injury against Georgetown on March 30.

The Terps also lost freshman goaltender Emily Lamparter to the transfer portal, where she returned to her home state to play for Clemson. Lamparter appeared in only four games, where she posted a .571 save percentage.

Top returners

One of the most noteworthy returns to the squad for the 2023 season is graduate student Abby Bosco. Starting her career at Penn, the stalwart defender burst onto the scene last year and started all 22 games for the Terps. Bosco scooped up 63 ground balls, which was good for second-best in the nation and eighth-best in Maryland history. An IWLCA First Team All-American last year and the 2023 USA Lacrosse Magazine Preseason National Defender of the Year, Bosco is ready to captain the Terps for another run at the title.

Another huge returner is senior Emily Sterling, who is considered by many to be the premier goaltender in the nation. The accolades Sterling has accumulated over her years at Maryland are impressive, to say the least. A few worth mentioning: 2022 IWLCA National Goalkeeper of the Year and 2023 USA Lacrosse Magazine Preseason National Goaltender of the Year. She will be a key cog in the Terps’ title hopes in 2023.

The next key returner to the team is senior Libby May, who finished second to Aurora Cordingley in scoring on the team last year with 64 goals and 78 points. She will lead the Terps on attack this year alongside fellow standouts Hannah Leubecker and Eloise Clevenger. May was a Second Team All-Big Ten selection last season.

One last prominent returnee to the squad is senior Hannah Leubecker, who earned First Team All-Big Ten honors last season. The attacker started in all 21 games as a junior, netting 62 goals and totaling 71 points. Leubecker has been consistent in her production over the course of her career as a Terp, leading the team in goals as a sophomore with 58.

Maryland also returns a few more attackers, including Eloise Clevenger (junior), Victoria Hensh (junior), Chrissy Thomas (junior), Kate Sites (junior) and Hailey Russo (sophomore).

In the midfield, the Terps also bring back Shaylan Ahearn (senior), Sophia Antonopoulos (senior), Shannon Smith (junior), Jordyn Lipkin (sophomore), Natalie Pansini (sophomore) and Demma Hall (sophomore).

Other returning members to the defense include Maddie Sanchez (graduate student), Brianna Lamoureux (senior), Aiden Peduzzi (junior) and Lily Grant (sophomore),

Key additions

The first major addition the Terps made this offseason was defender Marge Donovan, a transfer from Princeton. In her career at the Ivy league school, Donovan was an Inside Lacrosse Honorable Mention All-American and a multiple-time Honorable Mention All-Ivy League player. In just five games in 2020, Donovan posted 17 draw controls, 14 ground balls and caused seven turnovers.

Another new face on the squad will be Clancy Rheude. Although she transferred to Maryland last year, the defender redshirted due to injury and did not appear in a single game. A few of Rheude’s accolades entering the season include being the 2021 America East Co-Defensive Player of the Year as well as earning 2021 IWLCA All-Northeast Second Team honors.

Another redshirt due to injury, Kennedy Major is gearing up for her first appearance in a Maryland uniform. Major was the top-ranked defender in the 2021 recruiting class and No. 14 recruit overall according to Inside Lacrosse.

One last notable addition to the team is true freshman Kori Edmonson. The No. 1 recruit in the nation per Inside Lacrosse, Edmonson scored 194 goals, notched 43 assists and won 176 draw controls in her three years at McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Md. The midfielder will look to contribute right away in multiple facets of the game.

Other freshmen or redshirt freshmen joining the squad this season include goalie Carly Peterson, midfielders Celia Pell, Maddy Sterling, Jaylen Rosga and Emma Muchnick, defenders Mae Marshall, Neve O’Ferrall and Olivia Rockstroh and attacker Maggie Weisman.

Additionally, junior goalie Julia Hammerschlag transferred to Maryland after two years at Florida.

Looking forward

Maryland kicks off its season at home this Saturday against Saint Joseph’s at 1 p.m.

The Terps then go on a four-game road trip, where they will face off against three highly-ranked foes: No. 5 Syracuse, No. 7 Florida and No. 12 James Madison.

Next, Maryland returns to College Park, where it plays No. 9 Denver on March 5. It then plays matches against William & Mary, Villanova and Georgetown.

The Terps enter conference play on March 18, when they go head-to-head against No. 8 Rutgers.

After games against Ivy League foes Penn and No. 15 Princeton, Maryland concludes its season with five straight Big Ten battles. From April 2-22, the Terps will face No. 17 Michigan, No. 20 Johns Hopkins, Ohio State, Penn State and No. 4 Northwestern.