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Maryland men's lacrosse preview: Terps vs. Yale

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The No. 7 Maryland Terrapins head north to New Haven to take on No. 14 Yale.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland got its season off to a strong start last Saturday by comfortably dispatching the Navy Midshipmen, 8-1. This Saturday will provide a different and much tougher test. The No. 7 Terps are on the road again and taking on a trendy dark horse pick for a deep May run: Yale. The Bulldogs took a bit of a step back in 2014 after back-to-back Ivy League tournament titles in 2012 and 2013, going 9-5 last campaign. Virtually everyone is back though, including top scorer Conrad Oberbeck, who hit 50 points last season.

Despite all the offensive talent returning, Yale is a program -- much like Maryland -- that prides itself on its defense and being hard to play against. They gave up just 8.5 goals per game last season and made quite a few explosive offenses look meek, evidenced by giving up just six goals to Penn last year, albeit in a loss. The Elis also are known for playing in many close games, six of their contests last year were decided by a goal.

So the Terps are indeed in for a battle. Yale figures to have outstanding depth in scoring, as 15 different players recorded points in their win over UMass-Lowell last weekend. Last year they had 10 players with 10 or more points, five players with 10 or more goals, and three players with a dozen or more assists. They also use their attack and midfield for offensive production. Conrad Oberbeck is undoubtedly the star of the show. In 2014, he racked up 38 goals and 12 helpers for a total of 50 points. He tallied six points in the opener. In the midfield, they seniors Sean Shakespeare and Shane Thornton who combined for 38 points last year. Thornton also had 15 assists, second on the team.

This will test the Terps' defense, which while fantastic at the front end with guys such as Casey Ikeda, Matt Dunn and Mac Pons, hasn't yet been forced to show some of its depth. This is a threat Navy did not pose. Yale will pose it and we'll get to see how Maryland stacks up depth-wise defensively; this has been always been a strength of John Tillman's Terrapin teams.

On offense, Maryland should be fine sticking with the game plan they used against Navy. The offense had spells of stagnant passing, but they also showed a bit more initiating from behind the cage and more individual dodges for goals. That'll be what they need to do in this one. The offense looked sharp in that respect and would've had more if not for good goaltending by John Connors of the Midshipmen. This would be a big game for Dylan Maltz to break out and announce himself as a crucial part of Maryland's offense. The usual suspects, such as Matt Rambo, Jay Carlson and Joe LoCascio will definitely have a big part to play as well.

If there's a magic number for Maryland to hit, it'll likely be 10. The Terps have won 112 of 121 games since 2002 in which they've scored 10 goals. It'll also be important in a game like this, which figures to be a bit low-scoring and defensive, especially with the weather likely in store.

The game will take place at noon ET from Reese Stadium in New Haven, Conn. You can watch the game here on WatchESPN: http://t.co/4aiw7vCJPL There will also be a live stats page available.