Maryland women’s lacrosse held off a late Florida rally to hold off the No. 3 Gators for a 16-14 victory Saturday in Gainesville.
Megan Whittle and Jen Giles scored five and four goals, respectively, as the No. 1 Terps improved to 2-0 to start the season. It looked like Maryland was pulling away in the second half, but Florida scored the game’s last five goals to make it close down the stretch.
Megan Taylor saw a ton of action in this game, having to face 25 shots after only facing three in 30 minutes vs. William and Mary. Taylor made 11 saves total, but didn’t finish strong, allowing three straight goals without a save.
The rest of the game was as even as the score suggests. Both teams totaled 34 shots and 16 turnovers. However, Florida fouled Maryland 31 times, while Maryland only committed 19.
Florida got off to a fast start, scoring two goals in the first 90 seconds of action. However, Maryland quickly recovered, and went on a 5-1 run over the next 12 minutes of action. From there, both teams went back and forth, not allowing the other more than a two-goal run, leading to a 10-8 score at halftime.
Giles was Maryland’s offensive firepower in the first half, scoring four of the team’s 10 goals. After her, five other players scored in the first 30 minutes, with Whittle being the only one to do so twice.
A third of the way into the second half, Maryland began to pull away. After each team scored a goal in the first 10 minutes of the half, Maryland went on a 5-0 run over a four minute span. Of those four goals, Whittle scored three, bringing her total to five for the game.
Defensively, Maryland picked it up in the second half. The Terps held the Gators to one goal in the first 17 minutes of the half, including holding them scoreless for a full 15 minutes while its offense took control.
However, Florida never gave up. Down seven, the Gators scored five straight goals to end the game, but they ultimately ran out of time as the lead was to big to climb. However, the Gators held Maryland scoreless for the final 11:28.
Maryland goes from one ranked team to another, as the Terps head to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina next Saturday.
Three things to know
- The veterans paved the way for this win. Of the Terps’ 16 goals, only one was scored by a player who wasn’t on the team last year. While Giles lead the first half, Whittle stole the second, making up for over half of the Terps’ offense. While Maryland showed its depth in game one, game two was all about the quality of its best players.
- Maryland eased up in the final 10 minutes. After dominating most of the second half, the Terps allowed Florida to get back in the game thanks to costly penalties and mistakes. While the win over a top five team is impressive, Maryland needs to keep its foot on the gas the next time it has a lead this big.
- The defense was inconsistent. At times Maryland’s defense shined against the top opponent, while at others it struggled once it got into the weeds. The Terps allowed three Gators to score hat tricks, totaling 12 of the team’s 14 goals allowed, showing where they miss Nadine Hadnagy (who’s now a Florida assistant). Maryland still needs to discover the best way to lock down the opponents’ best players.