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No. 3 Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Penn preview

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The Terps rose to No. 3 in the latest Inside Lacrosse polls.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No. 3 Maryland women’s lacrosse improved to 7-0 on the season with another dominating effort over the weekend. For the fifth straight game, the Terps limited their opponent to single-digit goals, leading to a decisive 16-6 win against No. 12 Rutgers.

It had been a few games since Maryland matched up against a ranked opponent. But the rust surely didn’t show.

Although they fell behind 1-0 for the first time all season, the Terps rattled off a plethora of scoring runs to put away its Big Ten foes.

“Just being able to maintain our composure and just stick to our game plan even during those times where things seemed a little bit hectic out there,” junior goalkeeper Emily Sterling said. “I think [that] was huge for us and it really helped us grow as a team.”

“We had a whole week to prepare for this game, so talking about a game plan, went in looking to execute that game plan, and just focusing on us,” junior attacker Hannah Leubecker added.

Up next for Maryland is a tough showdown against the Ivy League’s Penn Quakers. Despite sitting at 3-4 on the year, the Quakers have played four ranked opponents — defeating Drexel and losing to Johns Hopkins and Loyola (MD) by a combined four goals.

Wednesday night’s game starts at 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.

Penn Quakers (3-4, 0-1 Ivy)

2021 record: Ivy League season canceled due to COVID-19

Head coach Karin Corbett is one the of most decorated coaches in Division I lacrosse, but her year-long hiatus from the game due to the Ivy League’s cancellation of spring sports may have made people forget. Allow for a quick refresher. Since taking over at the turn of the century, Corbett has accumulated 11 Ivy League titles, 13-straight NCAA Tournament berths and three straight trips to the Final Four. Corbett has also produced 28 IWLCA All-Americans and 109 All-Ivy players.

Players to know

Senior attacker Taylyn Stadler (No. 5) — Stadler entered the season as a Tewaaraton contender, and while her overall statistics don’t quite back up that billing, the senior has a ton of season left to produce. She doubled her season goal output in Penn’s last matchup against Georgetown, which could potentially be the beginning of her hot streak. In her last full season as a freshman, Stadler produced 26 goals in 18 games.

Sophomore midfielder Kaitlyn Cumiskey (No. 9) — Cumiskey has been a revelation for Corbett’s unit this season, offering significant contributions across the board. Nine goals, three assists, 11 ground balls, 12 caused turnovers and 22 draw controls make up Cumiskey’s stat line. She kicked off the season with a hat trick against Delaware and even though her goal scoring has tailed off a bit since then, the New Jersey product is a threat nonetheless.

Senior goalkeeper Krissy Kowalski (No. 33) — Aside from allowing 17 goals against Duke, Kowalski has been a brick wall in net for the Quakers. She leads the Ivy League in save percentage (.542) and goals allowed average (9.46). In her last game against Georgetown, Kowalski saved a whopping 17 shots. It was her second such game recording double-digit saves and just the second complete game she played on the year.

Strength

Defense. This team prides itself on playing lockdown defense. Kowalski defends the cage, while the rest of the defense does its part. A 10.14 goals allowed average leads the conference, especially impressive considering the opponents Penn has faced thus far.

Weakness

Offense. It’s as simple as that. Penn thrives on the defensive end but struggles with consistency on the offensive end. The team averages just 10 goals a game, slotting them at sixth in the conference. It gets worse with its shot percentage, as Penn ranks last in the Ivy League with a .355 shot percentage.

Three things to watch

1. Abby Bosco will play against her former team. Bosco fit the mold of the Penn system by bringing stingy defense to the Quaker backline. But now she is holding down the fort while wearing red and gold. Maryland’s defense has thrived under the leadership of Bosco and her expertise from playing under Corbett for three seasons could help the Terps gain the upper hand against a team who did not play all of last year.

2. Can Emily Sterling continue her torrid stretch? Sterling garnered Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors for allowing the eighth-ranked offense, Rutgers, to score just six goals. It’s been a long time coming for Sterling, as the junior has allowed single-digit goals in all but one game this season. Her impressive start to the campaign has put Sterling in the top five nationally in the goals allowed average (7.24).

3. Will draw controls shape itself up? After starting the year off with video game-like draw control figures, the Terps have fizzled out a bit in that department over its last two games. Over the past two games, Villanova and Rutgers combined for 13 more draw controls over the 13th ranked team in the country in that area.

“We struggled on the draw control today and that had been an area of strength for us,” head coach Cathy Reese said following the Rutgers game. “We were having to make defensive stops in order to have the ball on offense.”

The offense and defense are working very cohesively at the moment. But will Maryland be able to get back on track this week and regain its form on the draw circle so the offense isn’t as reliant on the defense making stops?