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Maryland women’s lacrosse unseeded in NCAA Tournament, will play Drexel in first round

The Terps are unseeded for the first time since 2006.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland women’s lacrosse qualified for the NCAA Tournament as an unseeded team, it was announced Sunday night. It will take on Drexel in the first round on Friday in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Maryland previously went head-to-head against Drexel this season, defeating the Dragons, 15-9 on Feb. 21. The Dragons went 12-5 in the regular season and recently lost in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament semifinals to Towson.

The Terps have now made 37 NCAA Tournaments and are seeking their 15th national title. Last season, they advance to their 12th Final Four in the past 13 seasons but fell to Boston College in the national semifinals.

Maryland currently holds a 14-6 record this season. It fell twice to Northwestern, most recently in the Big Ten Tournament title game, 14-9.

The Terps had five players named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team this year. Junior attacker Chrissy Thomas led the way for Maryland’s attack in the three contests with a total of four goals and eight assists. She provided a steady presence behind the cage alongside fellow junior attacker Eloise Clevenger, who notched four goals and five assists in the tournament but couldn’t manage a point against Northwestern.

Senior midfielder Shaylan Ahearn, senior attacker Libby May and graduate defender Abby Bosco were the other Terps named to the All-Tournament team. May, who leads the Terps in goals this season with 58, scored nine in the tournament.

Ahearn has been one of the best draw control specialists in the nation this season, accumulating 20 over the course of the tournament and 131 on the season. She suffered an ankle injury during the championship game, hindering Maryland’s performance in the circle. In her absence, sophomore midfielder Hailey Russo and junior midfielder Shannon Smith retained her responsibilities. Smith has been a key two-way cog for the Terps this season with 16 goals, 31 draw controls and nine ground balls.

Bosco has been Maryland’s defensive leader all season long and was the only Terrapin to be named a Tewaaraton Award nominee. She ranks second on Maryland with 91 draw controls on the season. Despite her short stature, Bosco is one of the grittiest players in the nation and her hunger for ground balls is duly noted. She also handily leads the team with 40 caused turnovers.

Maryland’s premier strength has been its defense. Aside from Bosco, Maryland boasts some of the very best defenders in the nation. Senior Brianna Lamoreux was named to the All-Big Ten second team and trails only Bosco with 25 ground balls for the Terps. Furthermore, defenders Clancy Rheude (redshirt junior) and Marge Donovan (graduate), offer more length, tenacity and skill on the back end.

The Terps’ midfield and attacking units have considerable depth. Senior attacker Hannah Leubecker — who was named to the All-Big Ten second team — is the Terps’ third leading goal scorer. When she missed time due to a lower body injury, Maryland had no issue making up for her production. Speedy junior attacker Kate Sites has been a force off the bench of late, scoring four goals in the Big Ten Tournament.

The midfield received a huge boost this season with the steady emergence of freshman Kori Edmondson. She just might be the Terps’ best all-around player, showcasing proficiency as a scorer, on the draw control and on defense.

Maryland will need to play to its ceiling if it wants to embark on another significant run in the NCAA Tournament.