In a battle of the best women’s lacrosse teams in the country, Maryland beat defending national champion and top-ranked North Carolina 13-10 in their home opener.
From the opening draw on, the Terps were in full control of the game. After starting two hours late due to weather delays in the men’s game, Maryland came out strong, scoring three unanswered goals in the first five minutes. They held a four-goal lead for most of the half, and went into halftime up 8-5.
After a high-scoring first half, the action slowed down in the second. Maryland was able to keep North Carolina in check, holding them to five goals after halftime. The Tar Heels attempted a comeback, scoring five of the game’s last six goals. However, the lead was just too big to overcome.
Maryland’s biggest contributor was Jen Giles, who tallied three goals and three assists, and Zoe Stukenberg recorded her own hat trick. Caroline Wannen, Megan Whittle and Kali Hartshorn had a pair of goals each, and Taylor Hensh added one. The 13 goals are a contrast to the two North Carolina games last year, in which the Terps only totaled 15.
Goalie Megan Taylor also came up big for the second straight week, stopping several Tar Heels chances, including a few breakaways. In total, Taylor allowed 10 goals on 19 shots, but almost all of those saves were in high-pressure situations.
Maryland’s defense was impressive, collecting 17 ground balls and clearing 21 of 25 chances. Also, North Carolina had issues with fouls, committing 29 total in the game. In fact, North Carolina’s Alex Moore was disqualified with 15 minutes to go after receiving her second yellow card.
The one area where Maryland struggled was on draw controls. The Tar Heels won that category 18-7, and this was the third straight week where Maryland had issues in the circle.
However, the Terps held on for the win. The last time they played in Maryland Stadium, they beat a top-ranked North Carolina team. Sounds familiar.
Three things to know
- Jen Giles was the difference. The sophomore was playing on another level than everyone else, scoring or assisting on six of the Terps’ 13 goals. She now has six goals on the year, two behind Caroline Wannen and Megan Whittle for the team lead. The continued emergence of Giles will make it easier on this team that has many young players and still learning to play without Taylor Cummings.
- Maryland’s defense was fantastic. Coming into the game, Sammy Jo Tracy, Marie McCool, and Molly Hendrick combined for over six goals a game. Maryland’s defense held the trio to three, including giving Tracy her first scoreless game since 2015. Additionally, the Terps held an offense averaging 15 goals a game to only 10.
- Maryland is set to be the top-ranked team in the nation. By defeating the best, the Terps can now ascend a spot to the top spot in the polls. This would mean that Maryland would be the home to both No. 1 lacrosse teams in the country once again.