COLLEGE PARK – Add Maryland women’s lacrosse to the growing list of ranked opponents to drop at James Madison.
The No. 15 Dukes broke a 6-6 halftime tie with four straight goals and edged the No. 3 Terps 7-2 in the second half en route to a 13-8 win on Saturday afternoon before a windswept 1003 at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.
Sophomore Redshirt hitter Isabella Peterson, a Sparks resident and Hereford graduate, posted highs in goals (five) and points (six) to propel James Madison to its third straight win. Those wins came at the expense of No. 19 Richmond on March 16, then No. 14 Virginia and now Maryland.
“We had a lot of momentum heading into this game with Top 20 wins,” said Peterson, who has scored at least three goals in each of his last three starts and 14 goals in the same. sequence. “I think we really came together and played one game at a time, which was our game plan.”
Junior forward Libby May, another Sparks resident and Hereford graduate, paced the Terps (8-1) with three goals and an assist. But they stumbled in their third match in eight days and fell from the unbeaten ranks.
“We know we are a great team. So it was a bit of a surprise,” May said of the result. “I think the most surprising thing is that it wasn’t characteristic of us not to really focus on the little things as much as we did tonight. But looking forward to next week , we know that we are not going to let this happen again because if we focus on the little things, the result will happen by itself.
Graduate student defenseman Torie Barretta remained defiant that the backhand wouldn’t define Maryland.
“It’s not the end of the world,” she said. “We lost. We don’t want to do that obviously, but that’s motivation now. We have that, but we don’t want to have that feeling anymore. So we’ll come back stronger.
Although they match or surpass the Dukes in many statistical categories, the Terps have fallen behind in a few critical areas. Perhaps the most important factor was a 1-for-8 performance on shots from free position, including an 0-for-4 performance from junior forward Hannah Leubecker (three goals) and an 0-for-2 outing from sophomore midfielder Shannon Smith.
When grad student forward Aurora Cordingley converted her first and only free position opportunity with 10:12 left in the fourth quarter, it was Maryland’s first in seven attempts.
“I think we’ve seen that 8 yards can be the deciding factor in a game,” coach Cathy Reese said. “We didn’t shoot well, and James Madison did a great job defending. That’s something I know I’ve talked about a lot this year. It’s got to be an area where we improve. because they’re kind of like free throws. When you’re put on the line, you have to make it count, and that’s something we need to improve on.
The Dukes also used zone defense to contain Cordingley and give senior goaltender Molly Dougherty shots she could stop. Cordingley, a transfer from Johns Hopkins who entered the game leading the country in points per game at 7.1, was limited to three points on a goal and two assists by a rotation of junior redshirt defenders Rachel Matey and Mairead Durkin who alternated between the zone and face protection. , and Dougherty made a record 10 saves.
“We ran in and out of some face shields with her to disrupt the flow,” said James Madison coach Shelley Klaes, who pointed out the defense gave Cordingley two goals and two assists during the match. 9-6 victory last spring in the NCAA. first round of the tournament when Cordingley was a member of Johns Hopkins. “We had confidence coming out of the Hopkins game last year. We did a great job on her last year. So our team was hungry to play it again.
Defensively, the Terps stayed true to their roots of doubling the ball carrier to induce turnovers and poor decisions. But when they gave that attention to Peterson, who entered the game leading the Dukes in goals (30) and points (36), she quickly distributed the ball to her teammates who found second and third. options for exploiting the interior of Maryland’s defense.
“I never really let a double team scare me off,” Peterson said. “I think once you get scared, that’s when you get frantic and lose the ball. So I wanted to stay calm and move the ball backwards.
James Madison, who started the season knowing he was ineligible for the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship and could only qualify for the NCAA playoffs by earning a berth off, already had a rollercoaster season.
Since an 0-2 start that included a shocking 10-9 loss to unranked Virginia Tech on Feb. 16, the Dukes have won three in a row, lost two in a row and are now three in a row. Klaes said back-to-back losses to Penn State and Rutgers on March 9 and March 13, respectively, “stripped our egos.”
“I think we were so tight with the conference situation this year, and the pressure to get a general bid hurt us early in the season,” she said. “I think when we had those two losses, we were able to say, ‘Listen, forget about May. We need you to play in March. We went after UVA and Maryland like it was the Final Four and the National Championship because we told them there was no guarantee they had the opportunity to play in May.