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Maryland men’s lacrosse vs. Saint Joseph’s preview

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The Terps can start 2-0 on the season with a win.

NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship - Semifinal Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Maryland men’s lacrosse has a quick turnaround from Saturday’s season-opening win against Navy, as the Terps travel to Philadelphia to take on Saint Joseph’s on Tuesday.

This might look like be a “freebie” of a game, especially after starting the season with a win against a top-10 team. This will be Saint Joseph’s home and season opener, and the Hawks will be looking to add to their NCAA Tournament resume with a win against the No. 2 team in the country.

“That’s a tough team that was essentially a game away from being in the [2016] NCAA Tournament,” head coach John Tillman said after the Terps’ win over Navy.

Saint Joseph’s Hawks (0-0)

Head coach: Taylor Wray

Thanks to Wray, the Hawks have finished first in the Northeast Conference the past three years. A three-time NEC Coach of the Year, Wray led Saint Joseph’s to its first 12-win season in program history, and looks to claim his first NCAA Tournament bid since taking the reigns of the Hawks.

Players to know

Mike Lanham, No. 35, senior face-off specialist. Maryland’s Austin Henningsen might have a rough time bouncing back after a lackluster performance in Annapolis this past weekend. Lanham, considered the best face-off man in the NEC, went 176-of-279 from the X last season and could have his way against Henningsen if the sophomore doesn’t put his 9-of-30 performance behind him.

T.J. Jones, No. 13, senior goalkeeper. Jones might be the best pure shot-stopper the Terps see all season. Ranked third nationally last year in both goals against average and save percentage, Maryland’s three-headed monster at attack will have hard work to do.

Strengths

Ball movement. The Hawks ranked first in the NEC in nearly every offensive category, including goals and assists per game, points per game and shot percentage. A worthy test for Maryland’s still-evolving defense.

Limiting turnovers. Usually, teams that score a lot compensate with a high volume of turnovers. The Hawks manage to be the best offensive team in the conference while also giving teams the least to work with, averaging just over 12 per game.

Weaknesses

Playing ranked opponents. This bodes well for Maryland, currently the No. 2 team in the country. Dating back to 2013, the Hawks are just 1-4 against ranked opponents.