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Maryland women’s lacrosse takes down Syracuse in 2OT, 12-11

The No. 2 Terrapins outlasted another top-five team in sudden death.

NCAA Lacrosse: Women’s Lacrosse Championship-Maryland vs Boston College Chris Bergmann-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 2 Maryland women’s lacrosse team took down No. 4 Syracuse, 12-11, in another double-overtime thriller in College Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Terrapins were able to overcome their 18 turnovers to win their 80th straight home game. Jen Giles led the Terps with three goals and two assists while Caroline Steele, Erica Evans and Grace Griffin finished with two goals each. Kali Hartshorn only scored once, but she netted the winner in the second sudden-death period.

Both teams fired 27 shots, with Syracuse putting 23 on goal and Maryland 22. Megan Taylor was able to play lights out, notching 12 saves, including several down the stretch of regulation to keep the Orange off the board.

Maryland started this match off strong, with Giles and Griffin giving the Terrapins a 2-0 lead. Both teams then went on a 3-3 stretch of play, before the Orange rattled off three goals in a row towards the end of the half to take a 6-5 lead into the break.

The Terrapins controlled play at the draw circle with a 7-5 lead through 30 minutes, but had 10 turnovers, which allowed the Orange to take control. Emily Hawryschuk and Giles both had two goals in the first half, with the rest of the goals being rather spread out by each team. Despite trailing at the half, Megan Taylor notched five saves, which gave Maryland a chance to fight back.

The Terrapins came out firing to start the second half, with three goals in the first 6:02 to reclaim a two-goal lead at 8-6. After one Syracuse goal by Meaghan Tyrrell, Maryland scored two more thanks to Griffin and Evans to expand its lead to 10-7. This forced Syracuse head coach Gary Gait to call a timeout and regroup.

A third and fourth goal by Hawryschuk helped fuel a 4-1 Syracuse run, tying the score at 11 with just under 12 minutes remaining. The game remained a stalemate for the rest of regulation thanks to high-quality goalkeeping by Taylor, including a low save in the final minute to keep things level.

In the first overtime, Syracuse was able to control the draw and get into the offensive zone, but fumbled a shot to Taylor in net, which allowed Maryland to reverse field. The Terrapins then ran the shot clock down, but were unable to find the net.

Just like two weekends ago against North Carolina, Maryland controlled the opening draw of the second overtime period and was able to win it, this time off a free-position chance. Hannah Warther dumped it off to Hartshorn, who deked Asa Goldstock and sank the shot.

Three things to know

1. The team was at full-strength, and it made a difference. Caroline Steele returned to action and finished with two goals and an assist. She started the game with a knee brace on, but shook it after the first few minutes and was in full form. Without the senior, Maryland probably doesn’t win this game. And with the season consisting of two games each week most of the way forward, the Terrapins will need to keep the squad fresh and up to strength.

“She’s somebody who is kind of taking thinks day-to-day,” head coach Cathy Reese said after the game. “She’s a great player, obviously we want to have her on the field, but we want her to be healthy.”

2. Turnovers are a real problem. Despite chalking the trend up to complacency during the week, the Terrapins continued to show a failure to take care of the ball in this matchup. Maryland had 10 turnovers in the first half, and seven in the second, compared to forcing just six themselves. Syracuse only forced six of the Terrapins’ 18 turnovers, just showing there’s work to be done on Maryland’s part moving forward.

“We’re learning a lot about ourselves and we need to continue to get better every day,” Reese said, “and the positive part of this is we haven’t played our best lacrosse yet.”

3. The draw control is still getting better. Maryland had pointed towards their struggles on the draw circle as the reason they couldn’t seem to pull away in big-time games, but things are trending up. A 7-5 first half lead at the circle then expanded to an 18-8 lead across the entire match, which shows just how good the Terrapins have gotten around the circle since their struggles against Florida and North Carolina.