The No. 3 Women’s Lacrosse team huddles up before the start of their ACC home opener against No. 6 Virginia in College Park, Md. Chris Trevino
With a little over 13 minutes left in the game, the No. 6 Virginia Cavalier’s sideline was ecstatic with players jumping over one another and coaches screaming into the rain-filled sky. Seconds earlier Cavalier attacker Josie Owens had sent a perfectly placed pass from behind the net to a streaking Daniela Eppler who slipped it past Brittany Dipper’s legs to cut the No. 3 Terps lead to one.
The Terrapins (4-1) (1-1 ACC) were watching their chance for their first ACC victory slip away right in front of their eyes.
“I definitely think that’s when we had to do the little things,” said senior Karri Ellen Johnson on her team’s mentality after seeing their lead shrink to one. “All those things start to add up.”
As the rain began to pick up Maryland began to slow it down, holding the ball for nearly seven minutes before freshman Kelly McPartland scored making it 9-7. Virginia (3-1) (0-1 ACC) never came closer than three after that.
Early on, the Terps looked poised to run straight past the Wahoos in a blowout after building up a 5-2 lead at the break and scoring two quick goals nine seconds apart to start the second half. Yet, the faster Maryland pushed the tempo, the more the Cavaliers slowed it down.
Virginia brought the game’s pace to a near stop with methodical and redundant passing, as they tried to catch Maryland napping. At the 37:05 mark the Cavs’ patience paid off as Charlie Finnigan played a well executed pass to Jess Loizeaux for an easy goal. One minute later Owens found a wide open Liza Blue to make the score 7-4.
One assistant coach began screaming: “It starts here Virginia,” as the players hugged in excitement. But Virginia struggled to fully seize the moment, going o-4 on free-position shots, committing 14 turnovers and winning on five draw controls in the second half.
In the end it was Maryland that did the “little things” to walk away with their first ACC win of the season and sixth straight over UVA.
“We learned a lot from the Duke game,” said head coach Cathy Reese. “It was a game we were able to go back and re-watch and we had a ton of opportunities and we needed to capitalize on them…I was disappointed at halftime, but I think we did alright in the second half.”
The biggest controversy came in the 7th minute after Virginia thought it had tied the game up 2-2. After a series of substitutions by both sides, the ensuing goal was strongly objected by the Maryland sideline claiming the Cavalier sub had came on “four seconds early.” After five minutes of debating, the referees waived off the goal and penalized Virginia forcing them to play a man down.
Though the Terps never scored with the advantage they did go on to make a 5-1 run that was key to withstanding the eventual Virginia comeback. And while the Cavs had plenty of other chances to tie the game up, that call certainly stunted their momentum.
Maryland gets a day’s rest before heading to New York to take on Hofstra on March 4.
Player(s) of the Game: Three players had hat tricks for Maryland! Johnson, McPartland and junior Katie Schwarzmann. It’s pretty hard to pick just one for player of the game so all three get the nod. Each of them had crucial contributions. McPartland scored the first goal and the one to put them up 9-7. Johnson chipped in two assists and scored the clincher. Schwarzmann led the slow pace offense in the second half that led to the crucial McPartland score.