In 2014, Northwestern handed Maryland its final regular season loss on Oct. 5, after which the Terps reeled off eight straight wins to enter postseason play on quite the high note. This Friday, the team will look to get started on a roll a game earlier than last season against the same opponent, as Maryland takes on Northwestern at [note the change in game time] 2 p.m. at Ludwig Field in College Park.
Maryland comes into Friday's matchup as the No. 13 team in the nation, according to the NSCAA Coaches' Poll. The Terps are riding high after cruising to a 4-1 victory over Wisconsin on Sunday in Madison. The team was able to empty the bench, using 11 subsitutes in the win. Maryland will have had four full days to rest for this game, so the team should be well-rested.
Northwestern currently sits at 3-4-1 on the season with a 1-2 record in conference play. The Wildcats come into the game sporting a rather anemic offense. They've scored 0.75 goals per game (six goals in eight games), and haven't scored more than twice in a single game all season. Seattle is the only team they've played all year that is ranked in today's coaches' poll, and Northwestern lost that game 3-0.
How to Witness:
Online: Streaming at BTN2Go
Twitter: Follow @ryanconnors11 for updates from the game.
Players to watch:
Joey Calstri, forward: With two goals on the season, the senior has the highest scoring total on the team. The former Big Ten Freshman of the year is the best offensive option the team has. His goal scoring peaked when he was a sophomore, scoring 12 goals and averaging 0.57 goals per game.
Zak Allen, goalkeeper: The senior is receiving his first regular playing time after getting his only minutes in net during four games a sophomore when the team's regular goalie went out with an injury. Allen actually sports the conference's highest saves-per-game average, at 4.50. Allen has a goals-against average of 1.31 and a save percentage of 0.766 this season, which is fourth in the Big Ten (Maryland's Cody Niedermeier ranks first), and has played every second in net for the Wildcats.
Goalie performance: Allen has been pretty solid in net for the 'Cats. His high save percentage seems to indicate that it's the defense that's been at fault, not the keeper.
A clean game: Northwestern has the lowest number of fouls committed in the Big Ten by a wide margin. At 69, the Wildcats are the only team that's even under 100. Maryland and Ohio State are tied for second-fewest with 106, while Rutgers leads the conference with 184.
Putting the ball into the net: As mentioned above, the Wilcats aren't exactly an offensive juggernaut. They have the lowest goals-per-game average in the conference, and rank in the bottom half of the Big Ten in every offensive category.
Generating corner kicks: Northwestern ranks dead last in the conference in corner kicks with 33. Michigan State leads the Big Ten with 84 corners, for perspective.