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No. 15 Maryland women’s lacrosse vs Navy preview

The Terps hosts the Midshipmen for their first midweek game of the season.


Weather conditions in upstate New York prompted a change in venue for then-No. 9 Maryland women’s lacrosse’s game against then-No. 4 Syracuse — but it didn’t benefit Cathy Reese’s squad as it lost 10-5 to the Orange.

The Terps continued their rough start to season, dropping their third consecutive game and falling nine spots in Inside Lacrosse’s Top-20 poll to No. 15.

Under Reese, the Terps hadn’t lost a home game in 86 consecutive tries, nor had lost consecutive games. But, a month into the season, the historic home win streak is gone and Maryland is riding a three game losing streak as it is set to face Navy Wednesday.

“We try not to focus too much on the externals,” junior midfielder Grace Griffin said. “We try to focus on what we can control … We just want to keep improving and focus on us.”

The contest will take place Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET and will be aired on BTN Plus.

Navy Midshipmen (2-2, 0-0 Patriot League)

2019 record: 16-5, 8-1 Patriot League

Head coach Cindy Timchal is one of the most decorated coaches in Division I women’s lacrosse history. She is the NCAA’s all-time leader in career wins (527) and won eight NCAA championships as the head coach at Maryland, including seven-straight from 1995-2001. Timchal paved the way for the Reese dynasty and has begun to pave the way for the Midshipmen in her 13 seasons in Annapolis.

Founded in 2008, Timchal inherited the program and has led the team to three conference championships and a Final Four appearance in 2017. Although the storied head coach hasn’t achieved the same success as she did as a Terp, the Midshipmen will look to build off a 16-5 record last season.

Players to know

Senior attacker Kelly Larkin (No. 7) seems to dictate the way things go for the Midshipmen. In the team’s two victories, Larkin scored 10 goals and eight assists, while the two losses only saw one ball hit the back of the net to go along with three assists. She has had an illustrious career at Navy, being named to three consecutive preseason Tewaaraton Award watch lists with three 100-point seasons. The senior has 22 points so far and will look to continue to build on that against the Terps.

Senior midfielder Kayla Harris (No. 25) is a native of Annapolis, Maryland, and has generated a solid career with Navy. Harris paces the team in draw controls in the early going of the season with 26. She set new career-highs in goals (37), assists (14) and points (51) in 2019. Harris’ twin sister, Brianna, plays at the University of Florida, and will look to take down the Terps just as her sister’s team did on Feb. 15.

Junior attacker Nicole Victory (No. 44) showed out in the latter half of her sophomore campaign. Victory started in less than half of Navy’s regular season games in 2019, yet still found consistency and ended her year with 63 points — 60 of which came in the final 13 games of the season — on 32 goals and 31 assists. She was also a member of the 2019 Patriot League All-Tournament Team.


Ability to play close. Although it’s hanging on to a .500 record, Navy has been competitive in every game. Timchal’s team pushed then-No. 8 Virginia to overtime in its season debut, while another battle against then-No. 21 Duke saw the Midshipmen fend off a second half comeback by the Blue Devils. Navy controlled much of the game against Saint Joseph’s on Feb. 12, but lost to Villanova on the road in its last game by a mere three goals. All games have displayed the team’s poise down the stretch and ability to stay within striking distance when facing a deficit.


Goalkeeping. Navy has slotted sophomore Abbi Young in cage and has subbed the Californian out for only 3:03 of game time. Her play in 2020 has been crucial for the 2-2 Midshipmen, but the counting stats aren’t promising. Young has allowed on average 12.66 goals per contest and has a .479 save percentage.

Three things to watch

1. How will the Terps respond to a short week? Not only did last week’s game against Syracuse change venues on rather short notice, but the Terps have a quick turnaround in their first midweek game of the season. Maryland has been trending downward since its loss to Florida at home, so more time to practice and address some kinks are all the Terps need to hopefully right the ship. However, with only three days in between games, will the team have done enough to prepare for Navy on short notice?

2. Will Kali Hartshorn end her goal drought? Senior attacker Kali Hartshorn was the head honcho of the Maryland offensive unit in the first two games of the season, accumulating seven goals on 13 shots. However, since the three goal performance against the Gators, Hartshorn hasn’t found the back of the net. Although the offense overall has been stagnant of late — scoring only 11 goals in the last two — the team’s offensive leader through the first two games has struggled to find her footing in her senior season.

“It’s just all communication and trusting each other and focusing on our end goal, which is putting the ball in the back of the net,” Hartshorn said.

Hartshorn will look to flip the switch and resort back to her dominant days of early February against a Midshipmen defense that has been dormant at times this year.

3. Who capitalizes on free position opportunities. As the Terps address one growing pain, another emerges week after week. Against Syracuse it was the free position percentage that lacked efficiency for the Terps. Maryland shot 2-for-7 from the free position against the Orange, adding to its troubling .360 free position percentage, placing them in the 80th position across the nation. The point of emphasis for Maryland this week seemed to be attacking the free opportunities and making a poised play out of it.

“If you look at it — it’s like a free throw in basketball,” Reese said. “I think sooner or later we’re going to see those shots fall with confidence.”