The soaring Maryland women’s lacrosse team completed its seventh straight victory on Sunday when it defeated the No. 15 Michigan Wolverines.
It was a highly-contested first half, with both defenses and top-caliber goaltenders shining bright. With a score of just 5-3 in favor of Maryland through two frames, it appeared as though the second half would be just as close. The third quarter followed the same script, but the Terps had different plans in the fourth. They went on a 5-0 run to shut the door on Michigan and win emphatically, 13-7.
Now, Maryland turns its attention to the rival Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, its second of five consecutive Big Ten matchups to close out the season.
To this point, Johns Hopkins has not had a successful season. After starting out the campaign with a win against Albany, it dropped its next game to No. 9 Loyola, 12-10. The Blue Jays also lost to No. 2 Northwestern, 19-5, and No. 6 Stony Brook, 12-9. Johns Hopkins’ most impressive win of the season was in its last affair, in which it defeated then-No. 25 Rutgers, 12-11, following a stunning fourth-quarter rally.
Wednesday’s game will begin at 5 p.m. and air on ESPNU.
Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (5-6, 2-1 Big Ten)
2022 record: 10-9, 2-4 Big Ten
Tim McCormack is in his first season of coaching Johns Hopkins women’s lacrosse. He was hired this past June after former head coach Janine Tucker retired after 29 years at the helm. Before Johns Hopkins, McCormack coached Arizona State for three seasons, where he gathered a cumulative record of 26-17. Before his time with Arizona State, he was an assistant coach at Northwestern for six years. McCormack was a three-year starter and two-time captain as goalkeeper for the UMass Minutemen in his playing career.
Players to watch
Maeve Barker, senior attacker, No. 4 — Barker started 18 games for the Blue Jays in 2022 and recorded 23 goals and 12 assists. So far this season, she has posted 17 goals and 13 assists to lead the team in points. Before the start of the campaign, Barker was named to the Big Ten Players to Watch list.
Georgie Gorelick, junior midfielder, No. 3 — Last season, Gorelick played in 17 games and recorded 25 total points. In 2023, she has accumulated 17 goals to go along with five assists. In addition, she has picked up 11 ground balls and won 13 draw controls. Like Barker, Gorelick was also named to the Big Ten Players to Watch list.
Ava Angello, freshman midfielder, No. 18 — Angello has already made quite the impact, tying for the team lead in goals (17) and slotting in at second in total points (28) so far this season. She’s also scooped eight ground balls to go along with 17 draw control victories. Against Monmouth, she netted six goals and was later named Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
Scoring. Angello is a rising star, but the Blue Jays don’t have one singular dominant offensive weapon. Instead, a number of their offensive players can score any given match. Despite having the third-fewest shots on goal per game in the Big Ten with 19.73, Johns Hopkins has the second-most assists per game (6.64) and third-most points per game (18.45) in the conference.
Turnovers. Simply put, the Blue Jays commit 18.82 turnovers per game, which is the second-worst mark in the Big Ten. The only team that ranks lower is Rutgers, who Johns Hopkins had to rally to beat Saturday.
Three things to watch
1. Keep watching the offense. Over their winning streak, the Terps have shown their ability to adapt to a number of different styles of offense. In some cases, the attack will be extra aggressive, drawing fouls and exploiting teams with its physicality. In some instances, offensive threats, namely Kori Edmondson, Libby May and Hannah Leubecker, will use their dodging and shooting abilities to take defenders on by themselves. Sometimes, head coach Cathy Reese will opt for a more quick-passing style of offense, and attacker Eloise Clevenger will set up cutters from her position behind the cage.
It’s always interesting to follow the Terps’ offense and make guesses as to what their approach will be.
2. Rise of Eloise Clevenger. Already flashing substantial potential last season in big moments, Clevenger has taken a huge leap this season in terms of her abilities on the field. Already having proven to be one of the best pure passers in the nation with 29 assists so far this season, Reese has encouraged Clevenger to be aggressive when necessary.
In doing so, Clevenger has seen an uptick in her scoring as of late. In her last four games, she has netted 10 goals, whereas in the first nine matches, she only scored eight. She has done so in a myriad of ways, too, including dodging from behind the net, operating from both wings and catching and shooting in front of the cage.
3. Turnover differential. Above, it’s noted just how turnover-prone the Blue Jays are. Maryland, meanwhile, commits the fewest turnovers per game in the Big Ten with 12.54. Last game, although the Terps committed 13 turnovers themselves, their defense caused some opportunistic turnovers in the fourth quarter. Maryland is adept at converging at the ball no matter the placement on the field. It’s not afraid to double-team at any time, which consistently rattles the opposition.
It will be noteworthy to see if the Terps can take advantage of this disparity on Wednesday.