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No. 1 Maryland women’s lacrosse opens season with 19-6 win at George Mason

The defending champions are 1-0 in 2020.

Catie May, Maryland women’s lacrosse Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

With 20:50 left in the first half and No. 1 Maryland women’s lacrosse down one goal to George Mason, freshman Libby May charged up to take a free position chance and slotted home her second goal of the game in the bottom right corner.

That goal evened the score at two apiece, giving the Terps another opportunity to take control. And a little under four minutes later, junior attacker Catie May received a pass from behind the net from Senior attacker Kali Hartshorn to set her up with a wide open opportunity on the right side, which she nailed to give the Terps their first lead of the day at 3-2.

After the slow start, Maryland got rolling on an eight goal run to end the first half, ignited by the play of the May sisters in their debut on the playing field with one another, en route to a 19-6 victory.

The siblings from Sparks, Maryland, shined early on, scoring two goals a piece in the opening ten minutes. Catie May notched four goals on the afternoon, while Libby May scored two.

“It’s just unreal getting the chance to play with my little sister,” Catie May said. “To see her work so hard on and off the field, just to be able to play and share this moment with her, it’s just so exciting and I’m ready to enjoy every moment of it.”

Hartshorn — who had four goals and three assists on the afternoon — showed off impressive stick skills en route to a first half hat trick on three consecutive goals. Senior captain Brindi Griffin took a while to get going, but recorded a second half hat trick to keep pushing the pedal on the offensive side.

With major roster turnover for the No. 1 Terps, the chemistry on the field took some time to settle in the team’s first game of the season.

The Patriots held the Terps in check early on, taking advantage of a new defense by running the shot clock down and testing the stability of the Terps. George Mason struck first on a low strike from junior midfielder Abby Folker, but couldn’t build off their early lead.

Running Maryland’s defense down to the waning seconds of the shot clock timer, the Terps responded by using their agility and speed and got to the net early, setting up their offense after solid defensive stops.

“We threw too many iffy passes when we were transitioning from one end of the field to the other,” Reese said. “But it was a good start.”

In the second half, George Mason started things off with a goal before Maryland rattled off five of its own.

Just as they helped do earlier in the contest, it was the May sisters that ignited the run just over three minutes into the second half. Catie May started behind the net and juked out Patriots goalie Melissa Semkiw to slot the goal underneath the senior, giving her the coveted hat trick.

Griffin added two goals of her own and Hartshorn scored her fourth goal of the afternoon just before freshman Hannah Leubecker capped off the run with her first career goal.

In the final 19 minutes, the Terps and Patriots began trading goals once again, but Maryland outscored George Mason 5-3 as the team cruised to victory in Fairfax.

Three things to know

1. The offense and defense connected well in transition. George Mason ran down the shot clock several times early on, causing the Maryland defense to withstand long possessions. The Terps were able to turn formidable defense into fast-paced, efficient offense, getting down the field quickly and making it a point to take shots early in the shot clock.

“Our defense plays against quick offense so I’m sure that was a little difficult for them to be down there for more than 50-60 seconds,” Hartshorn said. “They did a great job and they got the ball across the offensive 30 great most of the time, so I think it’s only going to progress from here”

2. Both McSally and Sterling look comfortable in goal. With the departure of Megan Taylor, there were some questions raised about how the Terps would respond in goal in 2020. McSally got the start and finished with five saves, while Sterling entered in the second half and added to an impressive afternoon from the new crop of Maryland goalies.

3. Draw controls may be an issue. With a lot of draw control leaders from last season gone, Kali Hartshorn and the rest of the team struggled to gain draw controls. The Patriots won the draw control battle by a 16-11 margin, proving that there is more work to be done by the Terps moving forward.

“That was probably one of the worst aspects of our game today, but it can only go up from here,” Hartshorn said. “We’re only one game in, we’re only a handful of practices in, so it’s only going to get better from here.”