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No. 4 Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Delaware preview

After a dominant showing against Florida, the Terps host Delaware on short rest.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

The No. 4 Maryland women’s lacrosse had a home opener for the record books on Saturday.

Hosting the No. 7 Florida Gators, the Terps trounced the Gators, 18-8, thanks to a dominant third quarter. With its 4-0 third-quarter shutout, Maryland has outscored opponents 16-1 in the first 15 minutes after halftime through its first three games of 2022.

The dominant showing produced some record-breaking performances as well.

Attacker Aurora Cordingley notched her 200th career point by tallying 10 points (four goals, six assists), which marked the highest single-game total by a Terp since Alex Aust against UMBC on March 5, 2013.

Midfielder Shaylan Ahearn also corralled a career-high 14 draw controls, more than doubling Florida’s overall draw control numbers.

It was a defining outing for the surging Terps, who will be seeking their fourth straight victory on Tuesday. They will host Delaware, a team that played just six games last season before the rest of its season was canceled due to player violations of COVID-19 protocols.

Tuesday’s matchup will start at 5 p.m. and can be streamed on Big Ten Plus.

Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens (1-2)

2021 Record: (1-5, 0-0 CAA)

Head coach Amy Altig is a highly-regarded coach within collegiate lacrosse circles, most recently serving nine seasons as an assistant coach and associate head coach at Penn State. Altig has been handed a tough slate to open her tenure in Newark, Delaware, having coached just 11 games across two seasons — both of which ended prematurely due to COVID-19. With a full schedule in-store, the defensive guru looks to finally establish herself as a promising up-and-coming head coach.

Players to know

Junior attacker Lizzie Hsu (No. 18) — Although Hsu has started just one of Delaware’s three games this season, she has still managed to pace the team in goals scored. After scoring twice against Rutgers in the season opener, the junior from Potomac, Maryland, generated zero shot attempts a week later against Penn. But a hat trick against La Salle — which included two goals to start a crucial third-quarter run to put the Blue Hen firmly ahead — reestablished Hsu as one of the team’s more prominent scoring threats.

Freshman attacker Delaney McDaniel (No. 25) — With Delaware being the lone unit in the CAA to not have a Preseason All-Conference nominee, McDaniel has made an early case to not only be on the season’s end list but possibly be the CAA Rookie of the Year. McDaniel is tied for the conference lead in assists per game (2). Her two goals have both been from the eight-meter, but her seven shots on goal mark should eventually translate to more scoring. The main downside to McDaniel’s play, however, is her team-high nine turnovers.

Senior midfielder Danika Swech (No. 34) — Delaware’s leading scorer from the abbreviated 2021 season has been a bit quiet to start 2022, but her ability to rattle off shots makes her a threat on any day. After scoring 12 times last year, Swech has four goals on 14 shots. That success rate is underwhelming for Swech’s standards, but coming off of an eight-shot performance against La Salle shows that she is not deterred by the struggles she has encountered thus far.

Strength

Stingy at causing turnovers. An aspect of Delaware’s game that exceeds expectations is its ability at causing turnovers. Right now, the Blue Hens rank third in the conference in caused turnovers per game with nine. In as many games as No. 15 Drexel, Delaware has just four fewer caused turnovers, an impressive comparison given their national standing.

Weakness

Offensive consistency. Ranking near the bottom in several statistical categories within the CAA, one of the main areas of concern is Delaware’s low shot percentage. A .356 success rate is dead last in the conference. This statistic goes along with an average of 8.67 goals per game — 91st of 115 Division I programs.

Three things to watch

1. Will Maryland overcome its streakiness? Although Maryland gained considerable separation against Florida, they still showcased a slight issue in maintaining its momentum across the new quarter format. After a dominant first, the Terps let the Gators back into the match before figuring things out in the second half. Against Virginia, the teams traded shutouts in the second and third. While those opponents were ranked nationally, it remains to be seen if this trend is going to become a commonality for the Terps?

2. What can be expected of Aurora Cordingley? Through three games as a Terp, the Johns Hopkins transfer has exceeded all expectations. Making an early case for the Tewaaraton Award, Cordingley has accumulated 13 goals, eight assists and an absurd .944 shot on goal percentage. Now that the question of her fit with the program has been answered, it’s time to start pondering on what to expect on a game-to-game basis from the star attacker.

3. Limiting free position opportunities. While Maryland’s defense did an excellent job of staving off much damage from the Gators via the free position (2-for-7), head coach Cathy Reese has been adamant about limiting opponent’s chances from the free position entirely. The Terps have allowed 18 shots from the eight-meter, with opponents converting on 50 percent of those attempts.