The sky was clear on McDaniel's campus at the start of the women's soccer team's home opener, but Mother Nature had other plans.
The Green Terror held a 3-2 lead over Catholic midway through the second half at the Green Terror Soccer Complex on Wednesday as dark clouds cast a shadow over the field.
A lightning warning was called, followed by a torrential downpour. An hour later, it was announced the remainder of the game would not play out.
(Per NCAA rules, if a game is played for at least 70 minutes before or after a lightning delay, it stands as complete. The first delay of Wednesday's match was called 3 minutes, 15 seconds shy of a complete game.)
The match won't count toward either team's record, leaving McDaniel at 1-0 with a tournament at York College set for this weekend before the Terror return home next week.
"I'm really pleased with the team's focus in practice every day," Green Terror coach Sandy Lagana said. "Our goal, really, is to get better every game and get better every practice. Even though it's disappointing that we didn't get to finish today, it felt like we got better today so I was pleased with that."
McDaniel is coming off a stellar 2015 season — the Green Terror played in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. McDaniel lost to Oneonta 3-1 and finished 15-3-2.
The Green Terror lost three seniors to graduation, one of which was Chloe Allen-Gorman. Allen-Gorman earned All-American honors by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in December.
But they returned forward Nicole Hill, a senior, who led the team in scoring with 31 points (11 goals, nine assists). Also back is Kirsten Gibson, now a sophomore, who netted eight goals and collected 21 points last fall.
The Terror came into the season ranked 25th in the country by the NSCAA, and took down St. Mary's 4-2 in their first game Sept. 1. Their lone former county player this fall is senior defender Jessica Beall, a Winters Mill graduate.
Junior forward Katie Kirschenmann notched two goals in the St. Mary's win, and said possession was going to be key in Wednesday's matchup against Catholic (2-0).
"One thing that we talk about all the time is 50-50 balls," Kirschenmann said. "Those really are a key to getting it under our possession and under our control so that was one thing we did a really good job of doing."
The Green Terror fouled in their own territory about three minutes in which resulted in a penalty shot for Catholic's Lindsay Aleman. Junior midfielder Abby Keen was quick to tie it up on a free kick with 31:40 in the first half.
Keen's tally sparked a run for the Green Terror when, six minutes later, Gibson chipped the ball through the lower left corner of the goal, just out of Catholic's goalie's reach to put them up 2-1.
Hill battled through a line of defenders for a goal of her own off a feed from teammate Christina Wroblewski. A Green Terror yellow card turned the ball into the Cardinals' hands and ended with Alexa Povelaitis' goal that cut the deficit to 3-2 with 21 seconds on the clock.
A series of shots were fired at Green Terror goalkeeper Sarah McDonald, who finished with seven saves. Two Catholic corner kicks were also cleared prior to the first lightning delay.
"I think the girls have done a fantastic job of stepping up to the plate and looking out for themselves and their teammates to improve every day," Lagana said. "On top of that, we brought in five really great freshmen who are making us better at practice every day and working into game situations so I think we're pretty well-rounded. It's just a matter of continuing to get more experience, we're pretty lucky in the fact that we have so many returners who are able to contribute."
The Green Terror thrive on having multiple scorers and where there are more offensive threats, there's room for capitalization. Catholic advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season, and Lagana was aware of the importance this game could have later down the line.
The South Carroll graduate begins her fifth season as McDaniel coach and has a 46-25-9 record.
"Coming in, we knew this would be a highlight game because it's a region game for us and could have potential for rankings later on," Lagana said. "We're all aware of that and I try to tell the girls to play with joy, enjoy the game, look past the pressure because it's just another game.
"They were fantastic today and I thought we put them on their heels and they rebounded and had us locked in a little bit in the second half. Our girls stayed focused and composed and I think it shows we're maturing as a program."