clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Maryland's first Big Ten season was a success

The University of Maryland showed it could not only compete in its new conference but that it'll be an asset as a member of the Big Ten.

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

When the University of Maryland announced plans to leave the ACC and join the Big Ten, pundits and fans across the country quickly wrote the Terps off, saying they wouldn't be able to compete in the Midwest-focused league. But one year after officially joining the B1G, Maryland has shown that its new conference foes need to fear the turtle across a variety of sports. Maryland didn't join the B1G to just roll over and offer up its television rights to the D.C./Baltimore media market. Five different Maryland teams claimed a Big Ten championship in the 2014-15 school year, more than any other B1G institution. Additionally, two teams won Big Ten Tournament championships. Maryland's women's lacrosse team also won the national title for the second consecutive year.

Many argued that Maryland couldn't compete in the ACC, but failed to realize that in men's basketball and in football, both programs were at or near the bottom of their potential. Men's basketball showed that by going from a preseason bubble team with Mark Turgeon on the hot seat to a top-15 finish in the AP Poll and return to the NCAA Tournament. Football beat some of the most storied B1G programs last year, announced plans to build a program-changing indoor facility and landed one of the most sought-after quarterback recruits in the 2016 class.

With the additional resources it'll gain by joining the Big Ten, Maryland should be able to invest additional resources in its athletic programs, further enhancing its competitiveness, while also becoming fiscally solvent in the process.

So, how did the Terrapins do across all sports in their first year as a member of the B1G? Here's a brief summary of each sport's season:


Maryland's first Big Ten football season was a mixed bag, but road victories over Penn State and Michigan (as well as a home win against Iowa) helped provide some highlights as the program adjusted to the different style of play, especially along the lines. The Terrapins' biggest gains since the conference change have been seen on the recruiting trail, with the addition of blue-chip local recruits like Damian Prince, Adam McLean and Dwayne Haskins.[Pete Volk]

Men's basketball

Going into its inaugural Big Ten season, Mark Turgeon was showing up on a lot of preseason hot seat lists, following a disappointing final season in the ACC that got worse after five players decided to transfer from the program in Spring 2014. But the success of Maryland's first B1G season made the 2013-14 campaign seem like a distant memory.

Maryland ended the season with a second place finish in the conference, including a 14-4 mark in B1G play. Overall, the men's basketball team won 28 games and suffered just seven losses, its highest win total since 2002, when it won 32 games and the National Championship. The Terrapins returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010 and were ranked as high as No. 8 in the AP Poll, finishing the season ranked No. 12. Maryland also secured the commitment of five-star center Diamond Stone and could begin the 2015-16 campaign as the nation's No. 1 ranked team. [Dave Tucker]

Women's basketball

Well, if you don't know about the achievements of Maryland's women's basketball team, then you're either not a Terps fan or are totally dismissive of women's sports. In terms of success in the B1G, even the national champion women's lacrosse team couldn't match the success of the women's basketball team. The women went undefeated in Big Ten play, including capturing its first of what will likely be many B1G Tournament titles. Oh, and for the second time in as many years, the Terps reached the Final Four.

They started the season 6-0 before a surprising loss in a Thanksgiving tournament in San Juan, P.R., to Washington State. They followed that with a 20-point loss to Notre Dame in B1G-ACC Challenge, but won their last three non-conference games. They then went 18-0 in B1G to win the regular-season championship. In the B1G tournament, they beat Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State to win B1G title and earn a No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament. In the Big Dance, they extended their program-record winning streak to 28 with wins over New Mexico State, Princeton, Duke and Tennessee, which gave them their second consecutive trip to a Final Four and third under Frese. They unfortunately lost 81-58 to UConn in the semis. [Todd Carton]

Men's soccer

If I had to sum up the season for the Maryland men's soccer team in one word, that would be "Cyclone," but not in the sense of the famous Coney Island roller coaster and instead in a more literal sense of a powerful storm. As was the case for many of the fall sports teams, the season got off to a less than auspicious start. After three games, the Terps were 1-1-1. After six games, they had a 1-3-2 record and had lost their Big Ten opener at home to Michigan State.
The Terps looked to have righted the ship when they beat Dayton and Wisconsin, but they then dropped a 1-0 game at home to Georgetown and followed that with a 3-2 overtime loss at Northwestern that led to a one-game suspension for head coach Sasho Cirovski. Cirovski's explosion triggered a ramp of the Terrapins' soccer cyclone to a Category 5 storm.

Following the loss at Northwestern, Maryland powered through the remainder of the regular season schedule by winning eight-straight games. It finished the regular season 10-5-3 and 5-2-1 in the B1G, enough to claim the conference title.

Its hot play continued into the Big Ten Tournament as the Terrapins defeated Rutgers, Michigan State on penalty kicks and Indiana to become the first Maryland team to claim both the B1G conference and tournament championships. When the NCAA Tournament arrived, the Cyclone Terrapins had dwindled to a tropical depression and the Terps fell to my alma mater, UMBC, suffering a 1-0 defeat at the paws of the Retrievers in the second round. [Todd Carton]

Women's soccer

Women's soccer was picked to finish third in its first season in the Big Ten and it finished in ninth place, not even high enough to qualify for the Big Ten tournament. The team was plagued yet again by the injury bug and struggled to score goals all season long. It often had chances, but simply couldn't find a way to put the ball in the back of the net. The Terrapins finished 5-7-6 (3-5-5 in Big Ten play). Midfielder Aubrey Baker transferred, but the Terps have a lot of talent coming back, especially on the back line, and should be a top-five team next year if they can stay healthy. [Noah Niederhoffer]

Field hockey

Field hockey had a senior-laden team and won Maryland's first-ever Big Ten title in any sport. It came up short in the Big Ten tournament final and suffered a historic upset loss at home to Albany in the Elite Eight, snapping its run of five consecutive trips to the Final Four. Maryland is the gold-standard for NCAA field hockey and it is hard to feel like this season was a success when the Final Four was being held in College Park and Maryland expects to be in the Final Four every year. Head coach Missy Meharg will reload, but on paper, next year's team will be a downgrade from this one. [Noah Niederhoffer]


Anyone that knows wrestling knew that Maryland would be out-matched in its first season in the Big Ten. The conference had taken the last nine national titles and Maryland wasn't in the same league (pun intended) as the top 10 teams in the conference. The Terps lost to traditionally weak schools like George Mason and Duke and failed to record a win in conference play. They were beaten by an average of 32-8.22 in their conference duals and posted the third-worst finish at the Big Ten Championships in the last 30 years. It was Kerry McCoy's first season without an All-American in his entire head coaching career. However, the team will be more talented and more balanced next season. It has the talent to possibly crack the top 25 as a team and should finish somewhere between 8th and 11th in the conference. [Noah Niederhoffer]


Heading into the season, first year head coach Steve Aird expected the Terps to struggle. He inherited a dispirited squad transitioning from the ACC, an average volleyball conference, to the B1G, one of the two best conferences in the NCAA.

Despite winning their first six matches, the Terps struggled a bit in the early going dropping sets to teams with less talent. Maryland's razor thin margin of error essentially vanished when senior middle blocker Adreene Elliott was lost for the season in a tournament at Appalachian State.

Aird hadn't expected great success had his team been healthy all season. Down one of his two best players, the season unfolded as one might have expected -- at least in terms of wins and losses. Maryland finished 10-21 overall and 3-17 in conference play. As strange as this may sound, the season did have something of a positive arc.
The Terps swept fellow Big Ten newcomer Rutgers and, over the season's final five matches, they won a set at No. 11 Nebraska, pushed Iowa and Minnesota to five sets and ended the season by beating Northwestern also in five sets. [Todd Carton}

Men's lacrosse

All in all, a pretty good season. The team started off 1-1, before reeling off 11 wins in a row, which was a school record. There was a bit of a tough run in April with lots of narrow wins and two rough losses to Hopkins and Ohio State. But the Terrapins put together a tremendous run in the tournament, with a couple of really exciting games. The championship game loss obviously hurt, but it doesn't eliminate the school-record 15 wins, or the fact that a team with minimal expectations before the season and before the NCAA Tournament advanced to the championship game, really because of hard work and maximizing their talent levels. Terp fans should be proud of the team's individual efforts and detach it from the stigma of the 40-year title drought. [Jake Nazar]

Women's lacrosse

The defending NCAA champions faced an enormous amount of pressure, from its No .1 preseason ranking to the Inside Lacrosse Magazine article that posed the question of whether or not this was the greatest women's lacrosse team of all time. The Terps handled it with aplomb and navigated a minefield of a regular season undefeated. Its first and only loss of the season came in the Big Ten quarterfinals. Maryland went wire-to-wire as the top team in the country and won its second straight national championship after coming back from a 6-3 halftime deficit to beat No. 2 UNC, 9-8. It was Maryland's first national championship as a member of the Big Ten conference and it helped the Big Ten tie its record of nine national titles in an academic year. [Noah Niederhoffer]


Maryland was a near-unanimous preseason pick to win the B1G. It ended up tied for third place, in part due to Illinois having an unbelievable year. But the Terps were swept at home by Indiana and dropped two of three at Northwestern. Overall, Maryland finished 14-10 in the B1G. Where the Terps shined was in the postseason. It ended Illinois' 27-game winning streak, and made it to the championship game. In that game, the Terps fell 4-3 to Michigan. Maryland was one of a conference-record five B1G teams to be selected to play in the NCAA Tournament. Only Illinois and the Terps made it out of the Regionals round, both going to Super Regionals. Although the final polls have yet to be released, Maryland and Illinois will most likely be the only B1G teams with a national ranking. Maryland also had eight players selected in the MLB draft. In summary, the Terps didn't win the conference in 2015, but they served notice that they are one of the best programs in the B1G. [Andrew Kramer]

Men's track and field

Track and field is finally starting to recover and return to being competitive after the program cuts from 2012. But the program still finished the season in 14th place in the B1G. It had only six points and five of those came from a fourth-place finish in the 1500m by senior Jakub Zivec.

Women's track and field

The highlight of the season for women's track and field came from seniors Thea LaFond and Amber Melville, who brought home individual titles from the conference championships. LaFond captured the triple jump crown while Melville won the outdoor high jump.

Men's golf

Men's golf won the Terrapin Invitational and finished second at the Wolfpack Spring Open in Raleigh, N.C., but came in 10th at the Big Ten Championship. Freshman David Kocher finished in third place at the B1G Tournament. He was named to the All-B1G Second Team and and also made the NCAA Tournament.

Women's golf

Juliet Vongphoumy recently finished second at the Big Ten Championship. Vongphoumy, a senior from Providence, R.I., completed three rounds of play with a two under par 214 tying her for second place individually. She was twice named the B1G Women's Golfer of the Week -- once in the fall season and once in the spring season and was also honored with the Mary Fossum Award, honoring the conference's player with the lowest stroke average (+1.37) relative to par this season. [Todd Carton].

Women's cross country

Women's cross country had its best finish (third) at the Mount St. Mary's Duals event. The team finished in seventh at the Navy Salty Dog Invitational and in 14th at the Big Ten Championships.


Softball is coming off the worst season in program history under first-year head coach Courtney Scott-Deifel. The team started with four preseason tournaments in Florida and California and went 3-2, 3-2, 4-1, 1-2. The 11 wins equaled the total from the previous year. The team continued to play reasonably well and took a 15-11 record to Iowa for its first B1G series. It won two of three and swept Dartmouth in its last two non-conference games. The Terrapins continued on a more or less even keel getting to 26-19 overall and were 8-6 in conference. They faded (due to lack of pitching depth) and lost eight of the last nine, including the first game of the B1G Tournament to Penn State finishing 9-14 in conference games and 27-27 overall. [Todd Carton}

Women's tennis

Women's tennis finished the season with a 10-12 overall record and struggled in conference play, going 3-8 in its first Big Ten season. The biggest bright spot was probably Alexandra Stanova, who was named the B1G Athlete of the Week in March after picking up wins over Nebraska's Maggy Lehmicke (6-2, 6-2) and Morgan State's Chelsi Russell (6-1, 6-0).

Women's gymnastics

The women's gymnastics team lost its first meet of the season which ended a 25-meet home winning streak (dating back to the 2012 season). Then, the team upset  No. 11 Minnesota in its first B1G dual meet, followed by losing three straight B1G duals before winning a quad meet at Rutgers to finish 2-3 in the conference. The Terrapins went 2-0-1 in a home quad meet (tied George Washington) then won eight straight, including scoring their first 196.000 in the home finale. They had a disappointing Big 5 meet, but still managed to finish seventh in the Big Ten tourney. They were seeded fifth in the region, made a seventh-straight NCAA appearance and finished third, the highest finish since 2001 and only the third time in program history. [Todd Carton]