After a rigorous three-week span that saw No. 15 Maryland women’s lacrosse drop three-straight games to ranked opponents, the Terps regained their footing in their first home victory of the season against Navy Wednesday.
In its 16-7 win over the Midshipmen, the Terps had a first half to remember. The defense ceded a quick goal to the opposition, but didn’t let Navy score the rest of the half as the the team rattled off 11 straight to take a demanding lead into the break.
From there, Maryland cruised to its first win since its season opener against George Mason on Feb. 8.
“The energy out there was very different this game,” senior attacker Brindi Griffin said. “Coming out from the start attacking, I think that was huge.”
The Terps won’t have much time to celebrate however, as they have a quick rebound to face the Hofstra Pride Saturday at noon.
The game will be broadcasted on BTN Plus.
Hofstra Pride (4-1, 0-0 CAA)
2019 record: 12-7, 4-2 CAA
Head coach Shannon Smith has continued to build the Pride program into one of the top mid-major teams in the country. Hofstra has been on the brink of cracking the Inside Lacrosse Top-20 poll over the past five weekly rankings, and for good reason. Smith and the Pride have rebounded nicely from a disastrous 2016 season that saw Hofstra only win three games. The former All-American has led her squad to recent success, eclipsing ten wins in 2019 and streaking to a 4-1 start this year, including an overtime road victory over Johns Hopkins.
Players to know
Senior midfielder Alyssa Parrella (No. 7) has taken over the top of Hofstra’s program statistics in her career with the Pride. Parrella is the all-time leader in goals (211) and total points (286), and she’s building off a banner season where she found the back of the net 85 times. She gives opposing defense’s a hard time, having scored 22 goals thus far. The senior had a huge game on Feb. 18 against Wagner, where she scored more than half of the team’s goals en route to a 15-8 victory.
Senior midfielder Alexa Mattera (No. 23) has had it her way on both sides of the field. Not only is Mattera third on the team in goals with 11, but she has been crucial to the defensive production with solid counting stats through the first month. With 11 ground balls, 11 draw controls and six caused turnovers, Mattera’s ability to impact the game on both sides of the ball make her a constant threat on the field that the Terps will have to monitor.
Sophomore goalkeeper Jess Smith (No. 3) has provided the Pride with some stability in net. Hofstra ranks 25th in scoring defense, allowing 9.80 goals per game. That mark is evidence of Smith’s play in the cage, which has had its highs and lows. The sophomore has emerged for the Pride with 51 saves, including 14 in two games — a loss to USC and a win at Wagner. She has shown signs of growing pains however, most notably against Fairfield on Feb. 22, where Smith had a lowly .273 save percentage.
Dominating the draw controls. The Hofstra Pride rank first in the nation in draw control percentage with a mark of .688 percent. The previously mentioned Mattera has been solid in the circle, but she doesn’t even scratch the surface. Senior defender Darcie Smith and junior midfielder Sabrina Cristodero have 30 and 22 draw controls, respectively. The team earns the possession battle early and often, situating the offense nicely to piece together solid outings.
Working the ball around. For the frequency that the Pride win their draw controls, they shouldn’t be so abysmal at churning out assists. Their scoring offense isn’t terrible, but the lack of assists severely hurts the team’s ability to work around tougher defenses. They are averaging 3.20 a game, and their turnover total is another red flag that damages Hofstra’s ability to piece together runs against better opponents, such as the Terps.
Three things to watch
1. Is this when the Terps get the ball rolling? The confidence in the Maryland locker room remained positive, even after an ugly three-game losing streak which consisted of two home losses. The Terps weren’t fazed and came out Wednesday night with some added aggression on offense, largely because of the flawless mentality.
“We haven’t talked about, ‘Ooh we need to win or there is this pressure’,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “We have got to get better than where we were, and we’re not gonna be good if we are timid and afraid to attack.”
Maryland got it going early and didn’t look back. The question heading into this next game however, is if this is only the beginning of the Terps’ comeback trail.
2. Can Maddie McSally keep it up? There probably isn’t a player on the Terps who is playing better than McSally is right now. Not only did the sophomore keep the Terps in the game against Syracuse last weekend when the offense looked all but lost, but she provided an even larger spark on Wednesday that ultimately helped Maryland to its second win. McSally followed up her 13 save performance with 11 more against Navy. Her .585 save percentage over the past two games has helped set the tempo for Maryland’s solid all-around team chemistry.
“All over, our team really played well together and played for one another,” senior defender Meghan Doherty said. “It was really awesome to see that finally come together and connect on the offensive and defensive side of the field.”
3. How will Maryland fare in the draw control category? Hofstra has been near unstoppable in the draw control portion of the game, so how will the Terps respond to a team that rivals its efficiency in the circle?
Freshman defender Emma Schettig, junior midfielder Hannah Warther and senior attacker Kali Hartshorn have done some damage in the draw control circle, but the Pride bring a formidable trio themselves. The draws will be a key part of the game. Whoever gets the ball on offense in the early going could dictate the pace of the game.