Once you fly first-class, it’s hard to travel any other way. The same can be said for an undefeated season. That’s what made a loss in just the fourth game of the season for Maryland women’s lacrosse such a shock.
Despite holding a two-goal lead with four minutes to go, the Terrapins fell to North Carolina in overtime last Saturday. That was their last loss since 2016, when the Tar Heels stunned Maryland in the national championship game.
The best remedy for a tough defeat on the road is a bounceback victory at home, and that’s exactly what the Terps did in their 21-12 win over UMBC.
No one was happier to be back at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex than Megan Whittle. The senior put in her best performance of the season Wednesday night, scoring seven goals and completely dominating the Retrievers.
“There’s nothing better than College Park,” Whittle said. “It’s just so exciting. My grandma’s the first person to hug me after the game. My family’s there. That’s why I came here.”
Meghan Siverson, who transferred to Maryland from Lousiville, matched the captain’s sentiments about playing at home.
“It’s always great to be back in College Park,” Siverson said. “Having the home field advantage is really nice. And coming off of two grass games we’re definitely happy to be back on our turf.”
The team certainly got off to a roaring start in the contest, using a six-goal run to take an early 7-1 lead. Whittle played a huge role in that early success, scoring three goals in less than six minutes. Head coach Cathy Reese had nothing but glowing remarks regarding her performance.
“Megan just goes hard all the time,” Reese said. “Our captains this year are really leading on the field. They never give less than all they have. Even if they’re tired they’re still going that way. I think that sets a good example for people out there, to understand that even when the going gets tough, you’re going as hard as you can. You’re working as hard as you can when you’re out there.”
While getting out to a big lead is impressive, the Terps have had trouble closing out games. In the first three games of the season, Maryland let up runs of three goals to William & Mary, five goals to Florida and three goals to North Carolina to end the games.
Against UMBC, though, it was the Terrapins who finished strong, and it was the younger players who got the job done. Freshman Grace Griffin scored her second goal of the season to push the score to 19-12. That was followed up by Nikki Sliwak’s third goal of the game, as the sophomore recorded her first career hat trick. The last score of the night came from Tori Barretta, playing in just her second game with Maryland.
“It’s definitely a pick-me-up win,” Siverson said when asked about the importance of the victory. “We know that we have it in us. Getting it on our home field under the lights is a great feeling.”
It was certainly a terrific way for Maryland to get back on track, and the team will get another opportunity to keep the momentum going on Saturday.
The Terps welcome the Hofstra Pride from Long Island. They’re coached by Northwestern legend Shannon Smith, who helped the Wildcats win three national championships in her time in Evanston. The former All-American and Tewaaraton Award winner is in her sixth year as the coach of the Pride.
The offense is led by a pair of sophomores in Alyssa Parrella and Alexa Mattera. The former leads the team with 14 goals, just edging out Mattera’s nine. Combined, the two have 28 points.
Hofstra won its first two games of the season against Bucknell and Wagner but fell to Fairfield last weekend. In the 13-12 defeat, the Pride took the lead with just over a minute left only to see them blow it and lose in overtime.
Saturday’s matchup will start at noon ET and can be seen on BTN Plus.