For the fourth straight year, Maryland women’s lacrosse opened up its season against William & Mary. This time around, the Terrapins defeated the Tribe 18-7, a result that has to give the defending national champions some confidence as the year gets underway.
A quick glance at the top of the box score reveals a lot of household names. Megan Whittle, last year’s leading scorer with 87 points, got off to a roaring start with four goals and an assist in Sunday’s game. A big part of her performance was great execution on free-position shots, converting on all three of her opportunities. But despite her personal success, the senior knows the importance of a team effort.
Junior attacker Caroline Steele had a game-high-tying four goals of her own on just five shots, producing at a very efficient rate to be one of the most important players for this Maryland team. She was excited to get back into the swing of things after a long offseason.
“I just had a lot of fun,” Steele said. “It’s so great to be back out there with my team. All the people really stepped up. It was really fun to have everyone playing today and everyone kinda get on that field for an early season jam.”
Jen Giles, a midfielder coming off a terrific sophomore season, also contributed four points of her own in the dominating win. Like Whittle and Steele, she was able to convert on a free-position shot to take advantage of a Tribe miscue.
All three of these veterans had fantastic individual games, but they all stressed the importance of a team effort and getting contributions across the board.
“I think it was a good day to start for the Terps. On the offensive side we put up a lot of shots, a lot of goals,” Whittle said. “We’re moving the ball really well, getting a lot of people involved. I think it was great that everyone was able to get in the game I’m happy with 4 goals, but I’m really more happy with the team and the way that we played.”
As for those other contributions, a significant portion came from new faces. Meghan Siverson played for two years at Louisville (including an All-American sophomore campaign) before transferring to College Park. She had two goals and was a key part in the facilitation of the ball on the offensive end.
When asked about Siverson’s contributions, Steele was happy to praise her new teammate: “Meg’s awesome. She’s great on the draw, great on offense, defense. She really helping us out all over the field and she’s a great player, we’re so lucky to have her and so pumped that she came here.”
One of the more exciting parts of the victory was Grace Griffin’s debut for the Terps. Being the No. 16 recruit in the nation according to Inside Lacrosse, she’s expected to do big things in her time at Maryland. But entering the game and scoring almost immediately isn’t something most would’ve predicted.
Her goal came off an excellent pass from Giles, who was thrilled to be able to get the freshman involved: “It was great. Grace is such an amazing player and it was so exciting to see her out there. I’m so happy she got that and I’ll be looking for her the rest of the season.”
It was certainly an opener to remember, but the team can’t rest on its laurels with a game in Florida on tap for Saturday. The Gators are the No. 3 team in the country in the Inside Lacrosse Poll, so they’ll be a much tougher test than William & Mary was.
But Steele says the team is ready for the challenge.
“We’re all pumped to go play [North] Carolina and Florida the next few weekends,” she said. “They’re both amazing teams every single year. It’ll be a lot of fun to see that challenge and see where we stand.”