No. 1 Maryland women's lacrosse fends off No. 3 Florida with huge second-half run in early-season test
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Megan Whittle and Jen Giles combined for nine goals as the top-ranked Maryland women’s lacrosse team outlasted No. 3 Florida 16-14 Saturday afternoon. UMD used a five-goal run in the second half to break away from the Gators (1-1), while junior goalie Megan Taylor finished with 11 stops as Maryland moves to 2-0 on the year.
“I’m really proud of the team for gutting out the win today," said Maryland Head Coach Cathy Reese. "It’s the second game of the year and first on the road. We were expecting a challenge against a talented Florida team and we got one. I think we had some really strong spurts, but we can definitely see where we can improve across the field moving forward.”
It was a back-and-forth battle at Donald R. Dizney Stadium, with neither team able to pull away through the early goings of the opening half. The Gators jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, before Maryland countered with three consecutive goals from the sticks of Whittle and Giles.
Both sides would continue to exchange goals down the stretch of the first half, before Maryland managed to build up the first three-goal advantage for either side on a Giles goal at 3:31. Florida would cut its deficit before the half with a Sydney Pirreca goal at 1:58, but the Terps still carried a two-goal lead into the break.
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Maryland came out of the gate firing in the second half, scoring six of the first seven goals in first 15 minutes of the half to build up a 16-9 lead. Taylor Hensh got the run started with a free position goal at 28:18, while Caroline Steele, Whittle and Kali Hartshorn added goals to push Maryland's lead to seven.
Florida made things interesting towards the end of the game, scoring the last five goals to eventually cut the lead to 16-14 with 1:55 remaining. A draw control from Meghan Siverson in the final two minutes all but sealed it, as Florida was forced to foul and Maryland held possession until time expired.
The No. 1 Terps will return to competition Saturday, Feb. 24 for a road matchup at No. 7 North Carolina in Chapel Hill.