After shooting its lowest percentage from the field Wednesday against No. 8 Virginia, JMU lacrosse set a new season low in Sunday’s 18-5 loss to No. 2 Maryland — the largest point differential in the 45 matches between the Dukes and the Terps.
“Credit to Maryland. They came out here raring to go,” head coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe said. “I think we just gave them too many chances. Our shot selection today really hurt us, we need more out of our offensive unit.”
The Dukes shot 23.8 percent from the field after shooting just above 27 percent in the prior contest. Their five goals were also the lowest of the year and marked their first time scoring five or fewer goals in over six years — dating back to March 20, 2013, when JMU scored three goals against Virginia.
One-dimensional play hurt the young offense, as several shots seared past the cage or right into the stick of Maryland’s goalkeepers. Their inability to multitask on the attack and create dynamic sets handicapped their chances at beating the well-respected program.
“We’re either looking for the dodge or looking for the feed but we’re not dodging and looking for the feed at the same time,” junior attacker Maddie McDaniel said. “That just comes with experience and it takes time. I just think that as time goes on we will get better.”
JMU was also heavily outshot by Maryland, 34-21 — its lowest total since shooting 19 times in the season opener against North Carolina. After falling behind in the draw-control battle 9-4 in the first half, Klaes-Bawcombe made a switch in the middle and replaced McDaniel with freshman midfielder Mairead Durkin.
“Between Maddie and Mairead today, I thought we competed on the draw,” Klaes-Bawcombe said. “There’s only two ways to get the ball in this game, it’s to get it off the draw or off defensive stops ... It’s just having a little bit more confidence and belief.”
The switch helped even things out to a 6-6 margin in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to slow down Maryland’s offense. The Terps pulled away with nine second-half goals, including a 6-0 run to finish the game.
Maryland’s dexterity on offense was too much to handle for the Dukes’ defense. Three players recorded hat tricks, and nine different Terps found the back of the net — led by senior midfielder Jen Giles’ four goals on 4-4 shooting.
“They have a great offense and we knew that coming in,” senior defender Caroline Sdanowich said. “It’s not just one player, we knew that all seven of them could easily score so we knew we had to treat each one with respect.”
The back-to-back losses are JMU’s first since 2017 when the Dukes also fell to Virginia and Maryland in consecutive home games. With one game left before CAA play, facing San Diego State on Saturday, the team will use its extended break to find consistency on offense and to get the team’s composure back.
“It should make us mad that that was the result,” Sdanowich said. “We need to bring the energy that we feel from this game and bring it into our next practice.”
Contact Blake Pace at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more lacrosse coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.