After its fifth straight victory over No. 24 Penn, No. 10 Maryland women’s lacrosse earned a break.
It was a game in which the Terps had some lapses on offense, but ultimately bounced back in the fourth quarter to secure the win. In addition, the defense broke its stretch of six straight games of holding opponents to less than 10 goals, but locked up Penn’s offense down the stretch.
Maryland now returns home to play its third ranked opponent in a row in No. 17 Princeton. It’s the Terps’ second Ivy League matchup of the season and their last nonconference affair of their campaign.
So far this season, the Tigers’ only losses have occurred against ranked programs, namely Virginia, Yale and Penn State. They have two ranked wins of their own over Rutgers and USC. Their other two victories came against Temple and Cornell, in which the combined score was 32-20.
Wednesday’s game will begin at 8 p.m. and air on Big Ten Network.
Princeton Tigers (4-3, 1-1 Ivy)
2022 record: 15-4, 7-0 Ivy
Although head coach Jenn Cook is in her first season at the helm of Princeton women’s lacrosse, she certainly has plenty of familiarity with the program. Having been on the staff as an assistant for the previous 10 seasons, Cook has helped coach the Tigers to seven Ivy League titles. Before becoming the head coach, Cook was the defensive coordinator and worked with the center draw unit. Prior to her days at Princeton, Cook was an assistant at Drexel as well as her alma mater, North Carolina, where she was a two-time Tewaaraton Award nominee and three-time IWLCA All-American.
Players to know
McKenzie Blake, sophomore attacker, No. 34 — Blake has enjoyed a fantastic start to her sophomore campaign. She currently ranks fifth in the conference in goals per game (2.86) and sixth in points per game (3.29). In the second week of the season, Blake earned Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week honors. In Princeton’s 17-9 road win over Temple, she scored six times, picked up four ground balls and won one draw control.
Amelia Hughes, freshman goalkeeper, No. 12 — Hughes has become the Tigers’ primary goalkeeper as a freshman and has flourished so far. In four games this season, Hughes has a goals against average of 11, a .560 save percentage and 56 total saves. She ranks first in saves per game in the conference. In addition, she earned Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week honors after making 14 saves in the win over then-No. 14 USC, seven of which came in the first quarter alone.
Nina Montes, sophomore attacker, No. 30 — Montes is worth mentioning as a player to watch as she just earned Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week honors. In Princeton’s 15-11 victory over Cornell, Montes notched a career-high six goals on 6-for-7 shooting. She scored four Princeton goals in the second quarter. As a freshman, Montes appeared in 17 games and ranked seventh on the team in total points with 23.
Scoring. Princeton is exceptional at scoring, and it’s never a surprise when it puts in more than 10 goals in a given game. In the Ivy League, it ranks first in goals per game (13.71) and second in points per game (18.86). In addition, it has three woman-down goals this season, the most in the conference.
Draw controls. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Maryland is one of the best draw control teams in the nation. Between midfielder Shaylan Ahearn and All-American defender Abby Bosco, the Terps win 16.64 draws per game. Alternatively, Princeton only manages to control 11.86 draws per game, which ranks dead last in the Ivy League.
Three things to watch
1. How good can Kori Edmondson get? Even though Edmondson entered the season as the No. 1 freshman recruit in the nation, it’s still remarkable to see the progress that she’s made. After scoring just three goals in her first five matches, Edmondson has taken off, notching a hat trick in her last six games.
Now trailing just senior attacker Libby May in goals on the season, it will be interesting to see if Edmondson can keep her goal scoring streak alive and expand on her already dominant game. So far, not only has she proven to be an exceptionally accurate shooter and deft dodger, but she also taken on more defensive responsibilities alongside Ahearn and Shannon Smith.
2. Princeton offense vs. Maryland defense. Princeton’s worst offensive performance of the season came in its Ivy League opener against Yale, where the offense scored 10 goals. It’s notable that even on days when the Tigers’ performance is subpar, they are still scoring at a decent clip.
This will be a test for Maryland’s defense. If the Terps can hold Princeton to under 10 goals, as they have versus so many other programs, it will be yet another testament to their skill. Overall, this facet of the game will surely be entertaining.
3. Emily Sterling is heating up. Aside from the performance of the Maryland defenders, Sterling has been remarkable in net for the Terps as of late. In her last three games, she has 34 saves. She had a season-high 15 against Georgetown to go along with a .789 save percentage.
As a whole, Sterling has had a good season, totaling 85 saves to date and boasting an 8.92 goals against average. However, given her recent hot streak, it will be crucial to see if she can maintain this pace against Princeton’s offense.