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No. 8 Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Ohio State preview

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Maryland’s four-game win streak is on the line in another road contest.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

No. 8 Maryland women’s lacrosse found itself in a rare three-goal hole to start Wednesday night’s road matchup against No. 12 Princeton. What transpired, however, was as good of a game as the Terps have played all season.

Outscoring the Tigers by seven goals to finish the half, Maryland’s offense continued to click in the second half, eventually leading to another excellent road victory, 19-9.

The offense worked in harmony with another tremendous performance by the defense. Its anchor, junior goalkeeper Emily Sterling, notched another double-digit save outing with 10.

The Terps are rolling and will face yet another road test against Ohio State. While Maryland will be searching for its fifth straight victory, the Buckeyes are also surging with a three-game win streak of their own on the line.

Sunday’s Big Ten matchup will be played at noon and can be watched on the Big Ten Network.

Ohio State Buckeyes (9-4, 2-1 Big Ten)

2021 record: 4-9 (4-8 Big Ten)

Head coach Amy Bokker is in her third season with the Buckeyes after guiding the Stanford Cardinals to 11 NCAA Tournaments over her 11-year tenure. Like many coaches since 2020, success has been hard to come by due to the pandemic. Bokker collected nine wins across her first two seasons, but this year’s squad has already matched the prior win tally in 2022.

Players to know

Sophomore attacker Jamie Lasda, No. 7 — It’s not any of three Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch that lead the Buckeyes in goals scored. That distinction belongs to the sophomore from Ithaca, New York. With just nine games to her name, Lasda has erupted in her second year in Columbus. She leads the team with 32 goals, ranking ninth in the Big Ten on a per game basis.

Attackers, junior Nicole Ferrara, No. 11 & senior Chloe Johnson, No. 13 — Despite Lasda’s emergence, the offense’s two veteran stars have played up to expectations this year. Ferrara trails Lasda in goals scored with 23, but leads the team in points thanks to her 17 assists. Johnson has a modest 18 goals and four assists on the season, but she has made her mark on the draw; her 104 draw controls rank second in the Big Ten.

Graduate midfielder Lindsay Epstein (No. 18) — A three-time captain with the Buckeyes, Epstein bounced back after missing 2020 due to injury with an All-Big Ten Second Team nod. She has since distanced herself from the injury with a loaded stat line in 2022. The veteran has 23 goals, 26 ground balls and 17 caused turnovers (both team-highs), and 37 draw controls.

Strength

Consistency across the board. There isn’t really a whole lot that Ohio State is bad at. Neither is there any category that they rise above the rest in. What they do, though, is provide consistency across all facets of the game. They rank in the top half of the Big Ten in basically all of the main statistics, including points per game, save percentage and draw controls.

Weakness

Turnovers. While most of Ohio State’s solid approach is passable, the one outlier is turnover margin. The Buckeyes caused a middling 8.62 turnovers per game, but commit 16.69 a game. That makes for a Big Ten-worst minus-105 margin through 13 games. For comparison, Maryland’s minus-18 is the best in the conference.

Three things to watch

1. Will Maryland continue to pour it on offensively? After an impressive performance versus Princeton, it would be foolish to expect anything less from a red-hot Terps team. But the short time off between games combined with the road atmosphere of a conference game presents some challenges. Maryland edged Ohio State in both meetings last season, but the key to toppling the Buckeyes will be maintaining its aggressiveness from earlier in the week.

2. The Aurora-Eloise connection. Graduate attacker Aurora Cordingley and sophomore attacker Eloise Clevenger have showcased tremendous chemistry this season. Like the classic tale of the sorcerer’s apprentice, Cordingley’s veteran leadership and Clevenger’s young energy have combined for a team-high 14 goals this season. They linked up once again with 21 seconds to spare in the first quarter against Princeton and should be in line for plenty more connections against Ohio State.

3. Draw control prowess. Since the Villanova game on March 13, the Terps struggled to win the draw control margin. But in the last two games, the team has combined for a plus-12 margin over its opponents. Will that story continue against a tough draw control team in the Buckeyes?