Maryland women’s lacrosse is currently in the midst of a four-game winning streak, the latest being a 15-5 beatdown of in-state rival Johns Hopkins.
The Terrapins scored the first five goals of the game on the way to a dominating victory, their lead never being relinquished throughout. The defense played lights out against the Blue Jays, allowing just 19 shots to their Big Ten foe with only 12 of those being on cage.
Offensively, the Terps struggled mightily, although most of that could be attributed to game flow. With a large lead early in the contest, scoring wasn’t at a premium. Nevertheless, Maryland converted on just 15 of their 40 shots, including a paltry three of eight on free-position opportunities.
Against the No. 7 team in the country in Penn, that type of offensive output won’t give the Terps a chance to walk out of Philadelphia with a win. The Quakers have yet to fall this season, as they’re one of a handful of undefeated teams remaining in women’s lacrosse. Last time out, they won on the road against No. 19 Duke.
This game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, but has been moved to 3 p.m. Thursday due to forecasted snow in the Philadelphia area.
No. 7 Penn Quakers (7-0)
2017 record: 13-4 (6-1 Ivy)
Head coach Karin Corbett has been the leader of Penn’s lacrosse program for 19 years, turning the team from a cellar-dweller into a perennial powerhouse in the Ivy League. Winners of 10 of the last 11 conference championships, the Quakers are a mainstay in the NCAA Tournament and have made three Final Fours in Corbett’s tenure.
Players to know
Sophomore attacker Gabby Rosenzweig, No. 24. Rosenzweig has gotten off to a blistering start for Penn’s offense, tallying 38 points in just seven games. With 25 goals on just 45 shots, she’s been efficient in her production, exemplifying both quantity and quality. She impressed as a freshman last year and seems to be getting better with every passing day.
Freshman attacker Zoe Belodeau, No. 14. In just her first year on campus, Belodeau has made quite the impression. With 17 goals and 15 assists, her 32 points are among the most for a freshman throughout the entire country. A three-time All-American in high school, Belodeau has certainly lived up to the hype thus far.
Three things to watch
1. Can the offense get back on track? Last week wasn’t the first time Maryland has struggled with inefficiency. In the win over Hofstra, the Terps took plenty of shots, but many of the looks were forced and didn’t lead to goal-scoring chances. The team bounced back with a dominating showing against Syracuse, but they had a full week to prepare. With just three days in between Johns Hopkins and Penn, fixing the issues will be much more difficult.
2. Will Maryland show signs of fatigue? With a week off after the games against Hofstra and Syracuse, it’ll be an adjustment to play on three days rest. And looking ahead to the rest of the schedule, Maryland will be playing two games a week until late April. With the competition getting stiffer and teams playing more physical, there’s a possibility that the Terps get off to a slow start. Against a top-10 team like Penn, getting into too big a hole early could prove to be their downfall.
3. Does Penn’s goalkeeping advantage win out? Although Megan Taylor is the reigning National Goaltender of the Year, Penn’s Mikaila Cheeseman has been among the sport’s elite this year. Her .556 save percentage ranks No. 6 in the country, and it completely dwarfs Taylor’s .426. With a discrepancy that large, it’ll be even more important for the defense to keep Penn’s offense from getting chances on cage.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the game’s changed date and time.