With eight minutes remaining against No. 14 Florida, junior midfielder Hannah Warther rushed in the from the left side and converted on a tough angle to tie the game at 14.
No. 1 Maryland women’s lacrosse trailed for the majority of the second half, but Warther’s career-high four goals kept the Terps close throughout.
It wasn’t until 49 seconds remaining in the classic showdown that Shannon Kavanagh, who had a career-high eight goals on the afternoon, cut across the middle and found the back of the net on an assist from Brianna Harris to give Florida the upset win on the road.
The loss ends Maryland’s 86-game home win streak and marks the first time head coach Cathy Reese’s squad has dropped a game since May 25, 2018.
The Terps scored the first goal of the afternoon, but the Gators began to piece together impressive defensive stops and fire on all cylinders thanks to a fast paced offense led by Kavanagh.
Last year’s matchup between the Gators and Terps saw Lindsey Ronbeck score eight goals, for Florida, but this time around the catalyst on offense for the Gators was Kavanagh.
The 2019 AAC Midfielder of the Year was all over the place for the Gators, chipping in well on defense while also being a force on offense.
For Maryland, freshman Libby May continued her impressive start to the season.
After knocking in two early goals in her first action for the Terps last weekend, May got it rolling early again. Her first goal came off of a free position shot — one of the Terps’ 16 attempts — to give Maryland a 2-1 lead about six minutes in.
May then put the moves on the Gator defense as she finessed her way to the cage and scored on a bouncing shot to put the Terps ahead with 22:13 remaining in the half.
Amidst confusion on the Terps’ sideline regarding a Brindi Griffin substitution, Kali Hartshorn casually ripped in a sidearm flick after emerging from behind the net to start a 3-1 run that gave the Terps their first lead since May’s goal.
Maryland’s largest run of the game left the game tied at 8-8 heading into halftime.
Freshman Shaylan Ahearn broke the deadlock two and half minutes into the second half, ripping a shot off an assist from Griffin for her first career goal. Kavanagh responded with two goals of her own to snatch the lead back for Florida at 10-9 with 24:03 remaining.
Florida wouldn’t let Maryland get back into the game. The Terps hung around but Florida continued to pour on the goals when Maryland looked to be inching back.
A back-and-forth game throughout, Florida gained the upper hand with a two-goal lead with 18:21 remaining in the second half thanks to goals from Hannah Mardiney and Brianna Harris.
The Terps battled back a bit, but the Gators maintained this two goal cushion well into the half and stifled the Maryland attack every time the Terps looked to be closing in.
And though Warther ended Florida’s two goal run to tie it with eight minutes remaining, only the Gators could the back of net in the final minutes, leaving the Terps shocked on their home turf.
Three things to know
1. Maryland’s inexperience showed against tougher competition. There was a lot of confusion seemingly everywhere for the Terps. The roster turnover didn’t seem like much of an obstacle against George Mason, but Maryland’s inconsistency against Florida revealed the flaws in the new lineup chemistry. The defense had a tough time containing Kavanagh, while the offense had a few opportunities squandered due to errant passes.
2. Draw controls were a strength. After struggling with winning draws last week, Maryland dominated the circle against Florida. The Terps had 21 draw controls on the afternoon compared to 10 by the Gators. Hartshorn was a workhorse for Maryland in this one, collecting a career-high 14 draw controls.
3. The offense couldn’t piece together runs. A major reason behind Maryland’s 19-6 victory against George Mason was their ability to get the offense moving. Maryland had an eight-goal first half run to gain separation against the Patriots, until a five-goal run in the second half put the game out of reach.
Against Florida however, the back and forth nature of Saturday’s matchup left the offense scrambling to find answers. The Terps’ largest run was a three goal streak late in the first half, but the Gators responded every chance they could get.
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