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Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. North Carolina preview

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The Terps look for revenge against the defending national champions.

NCAA Lacrosse: Women's Semi Final-Maryland vs Syracuse Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland women’s lacrosse looks for revenge this week as the Terps take on defending champion and top ranked North Carolina. The Tar Heels enter this game with a 20-game win streak dating back to last year, with their last loss coming against Maryland in the 2016 regular season.

In fact, these teams are very familiar with each other. They have met in three of the last four national championships, and they played each other every season when Maryland was in the ACC. This this will be the third straight year they play as non-conference opponents. Maryland leads the all-time series 24-13.

The game is set to begin at 3 p.m. ET after Maryland men’s lacrosse finishes against Yale.

North Carolina Tar Heels (3-0)

Head Coach: Jenny Levy. Levy has been the Tar Heels’ head coach for 21 seasons, and her career record with the team is 295-106. Under Levy, UNC won national championships in both the 2013 and 2016 season, and she is the eighth coach to win multiple national championships.

Players to watch

Molly Hendrick, 5’8, attack/midfield, No. 23. Hendrick led the 2016 Tar Heels in goals (59) and points (71). Last year in the championship game, she scored three goals, which was tied for the game lead. Through three games this year, Hendrick has nine goals, once again on pace to top the team’s stat sheet.

Sammy Jo Tracy, 5’4, attack/midfield, No. 13. A senior from New York, Tracy was the only Tar Heel to score a goal in every game last season. Additionally, she led the team in draw controls last season with 108, and is currently second in the nation this year with 34.

Strength

Draw controls. With a big thank-you to Tracy, North Carolina leads the country in draw controls per game with 19.67. Last week against Georgetown, Maryland struggled at times during draws that allowed the Hoyas to get back into the game. In order to win Saturday, Maryland has to find some consistency in this area, the one place where they miss Taylor Cummings the most.

Weakness

Turnovers. Like Georgetown last week, the Tar Heels have struggled with turnovers to start the season. North Carolina is only tied for 67th with 18.67 turnovers per game, whereas Maryland is tied for the lead with 11.5 turnovers. This is an area where the Terps must take advantage.

Things to Watch

This isn’t your typical home game. This is the middle game of a Maryland triple-header, sandwiched in between men’s lacrosse and men’s basketball. Also, for the first time in 10 years the Terps will play a game at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. What was the result the last time they played? They beat a top-ranked North Carolina team.

The number 15. Last year, the Terps only managed 15 goals total in two games vs. North Carolina. Additionally, this year both teams have averaged 15 goals per game. In order to win this game, Maryland might need to unlock whatever offense they couldn’t last year and reach 15 goals.

This should be the biggest game of the regular season. It’s safe to say this is a BIG game for both teams who could easily meet again later in the year. Whenever the two best teams in a sport play each other, it’s a big deal regardless of when the game is played.