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Big Ten Tournament 2017: Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Johns Hopkins preview

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The Terps host this conference semifinal matchup.

NCAA Lacrosse: Women's Championship - Maryland Terrapins vs. North Carolina Tar Heels Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After completing an undefeated regular season, Maryland women’s lacrosse looks to win its second straight Big Ten tournament as this year’s host. First, the Terps will play their semifinal game against Johns Hopkins, which finished the season unranked.

The game will be the first semifinal, starting at 6 p.m. ET in College Park, and will be televised on BTN.

Last Meeting

The Terps and the Blue Jays last met on March 19, when Maryland cruised to a 17-4 victory. Megan Taylor missed the match with an injury, and while backup Emily Kift played well, Johns Hopkins enters the semifinal at a disadvantage having not already played against the Terps goalkeeper.

This performance was also one of Maryland’s most complete of the season. Six players scored at least two goals, and the team had nine total scorers. One key takeaway was Hopkins’ physicality, as the Blue Jays committed 41 fouls. Expect them to once again play a physical game to disrupt the Terps.

Including that meeting, Johns Hopkins is 4-5 in its last nine games after winning seven of eight to start the season.

Players to Watch

Haley Schweizer, 5’10, midfield, No. 21. Schweizer finished the regular season with 33 goals and 42 points, leading the team in both categories. Since Maryland held her to a single goal in their meeting, Schweizer has scored 17 goals in her last eight games.

Shannon Fitzgerald, 5’11, midfield, No. 22. The junior scored 29 goals and totaled 38 points this season, good for second and a tie for third on the team. Since she scored one goal against Maryland, Fitzgerald heated up for 13 goals in the four games immediately following.

Strength

Scoring defense. Hopkins finished the season ranked 28th in goals allowed per game with 9.94, but has dropped 21 spots since March 19. In their last nine games, the Blue Jays have allowed 108 goals after only allowing 61 in their first eight.

Weakness

Draw controls. Since last meeting, Hopkins has dropped 14 spots in draw controls from 74th to 88th. At only 11.24 draws controls per game, the Blue Jays could struggle going up against Kali Hartshorn and Maryland’s 14.47 draw controls per game, tied for 20th in the country.

Three Things to Watch

  1. Will Miranda Ibello play? Ibello was the Blue Jays’ points leader last time these teams met, but she hasn’t played in any of Johns Hopkins’ last four games. In that span, the Blue Jays are 2-2 and have been outscored 49-40, so Maryland won’t be playing the same Hopkins team if Ibello can’t play.
  2. Maryland should capitalize on free positions. In the first meeting, the Terps converted five free position goals on 12 attempts thanks to Johns Hopkins’ frequent fouling. If the Blue Jays play a similarly physical game, the Terps can decide it by winning the free position battle.
  3. Who steps up for the Terps? Maryland finished the season with seven players who scored at least 20 goals and 30 points. The Terps’ balance is their offense’s biggest advantage, and any one of the team’s scorers can take over on a given day.