In the midst of Maryland's busiest stretch of the regular season, coach Cathy Reese has tried to stick to a time-tested philosophy: Don't worry about what your opponent is doing — just about what you can do to improve.
On a frigid afternoon in College Park on Sunday, the top-ranked Terps gave Reese plenty to think about following a 16-11 win over up-and-coming Hofstra.
Maryland (5-0) allowed a season-high 31 shots against the Pride, a team it held to just four goals a year ago.
"[Monday] we regroup," said Reese, whose team will play its third game in five days Tuesday against visiting UMBC. "We'll learn from today, and make sure we don't make those same mistakes on Tuesday. We've got some things to work on."
Most of that work will come on defense, where the Terps consistently had trouble setting up double-teams.
As a result, Hofstra (4-1), which missed out on its first-ever 5-0 start — managed to hang around until midway through the second half.
"We just need to help each other out a little more," Reese said. "I was disappointed in our ability to get our doubles to where they needed to be. We were a little slow on our slides, and that hurt us."
Trailing 9-5, the Pride nearly cut the lead to three when April Iannetta's shot from in front sailed just inches wide left.
That's when Maryland took charge, scoring five of the next six goals over an 11-minute span to build its lead to 14-6. The rally started just minutes into the second half, when sophomore Kristen Lamon (St. Mary's) scored twice in 23 seconds off nearly identical feeds from Alex Aust behind the goal.
Both Lamon and Aust finished with a game-high four goals, with Aust also adding five assists. The senior, one of four Terps on the Tewaaraton watch list, now has 19 points in her past two games.
"I've just been getting pretty good open looks around the crease," said Aust, who said Maryland didn't panic when Hofstra threatened the lead. "We just focused on getting possession and staying true to our game. Just spreading our offense, having control of it, staying poised and putting the ball in the back of the net."
The Terps built their lead to 16-8 by late in the second half before the Pride rallied late to close the game with three straight goals. Junior Julia Riemer (Hereford) had three goals to lead Hofstra, which has transformed its program under first-year coach Shannon Smith, a former three-time All-American at Northwestern.
Smith took a plethora of positives from the loss.
"I think this is a great game for us, and a proving point on how they have been working and where they can go," Smith said. "I saw a lot of great things. I saw my freshmen grow up this game. We played well for 60 minutes, and it might have been the first time all season we're done that.
"We had a lot of shot opportunities. We just need to put more of those away."