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Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Michigan preview

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The Terps resume Big Ten play in Ann Arbor.

NCAA Womens Lacrosse: National Championship Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland women’s lacrosse is currently on a seven-game winning streak, its most recent victory being Wednesday’s 17-5 beatdown of Georgetown.

Despite the lopsided final score, the game was extremely close to start, as the teams were locked in a 2-2 tie for a long stretch of time.

“I thought we came out kind of flat,” head coach Cathy Reese said after the game.

Frustrated with how the offense was playing, Reese called a timeout to gather her team and reset the offense. That was apparently all it took to get things going, as the Terps immediately went on a six-goal run to make the score 8-2.

“After we took that one timeout that Cathy called, we definitely brought it together,” sophomore attacker Kali Hartshorn said. “We started off a little flat and I think Cathy had to get a little fire started between all of us. I think that’s just what did it.”

They didn’t need to score for the rest of the game thanks to their tremendous defense, but the offense continued to pour it on. Hartshorn was fantastic in the victory, scoring a team-high four goals and adding an assist.

“How awesome was she tonight? She’s great,” Reese said about the sophomore. “She’s so good at what she does and she dominated the center circle. And also on the offensive end, she was catching and finishing inside. She had a great game all the way throughout.”

Freshman Grace Griffin also had a great game, following up her career-high four-goal game with a three-score night while also contributing two assists.

“Grace is awesome,” Reese said regarding the standout first-year player. “I think the really cool thing is we’re going to get to continue to see how good she can be as she continues to grow.”

After beating the nation’s No. 24 team in Georgetown, the Terps will have an easier matchup Saturday. Just as the men’s team is doing this weekend, Maryland women’s lacrosse is heading to Ann Arbor to face off against Michigan.

The Wolverines haven’t played since Sunday, a game in which they demolished Detroit Mercy 14-7. Prior to that, they suffered a 16-7 loss on the road at Northwestern.

Michigan Wolverines (5-6)

2017 Record: 5-12 (1-5 Big Ten)

Head coach Hannah Nielsen is in her first season with the Wolverines, her first time in such a role. But her lack of experience in the coaching realm is more than made up for by her incredibly impressive resume as a player. Nielsen was a four-time national champion player at Northwestern and won back-to-back Tewaaraton Awards, and although she’s spent the last few years as an assistant coach, Neilsen hasn’t hung up the cleats quite yet. She brought the Australian national team to the World Cup semifinals just this past year, and her performance led to be selected for the All-World team.

Players to know

Junior attacker Adriana Pendino, No. 41. The de facto leader of the offense, Pendino has had a lot of success in her third year with the program. After playing in 13 games last year and scoring eight goals, she’s had a terrific start to her junior campaign. In 11 games thus far, Pendino has ammassed 25 goals to lead the team.

Graduate attacker Bianca Brueckner, No. 18. Due to a foot injury that caused her to redshirt her freshman season, Brueckner has already graduated from Michigan with a degree in communication studies this past spring. After being granted a fifth year of eligibility, she has been a leader on this team both on and off the field. Her 19 points are second on the squad, as she has contributed 14 goals and five assists.

Three things to watch

1. It’s a doubleheader. The men’s game will play first at noon on Big Ten Network, with the women following them at 3 p.m. ET. It’s a cool scheduling quirk that allows fans of both schools to make a full day out of college lacrosse.

2. Do the Terps dominate this game as well? It’s a Big Ten matchup between two large schools, but the talent discrepancy between them is huge.The Terps beat No. 24 Georgetown by 12 and are now playing an unranked foe. If that wasn’t enough, Cathy Reese has coached Maryland to four national titles and Michigan’s coach is in her first year. At the very least, it should give the Terrapins plenty of time to work in some of the younger players.

3. But they can’t look ahead. It’s easy for fans to take a glance at the schedule and see No. 10 Virginia looming. The Cavaliers will come into College Park on Wednesday for a marquee matchup. But the Terps can’t let that affect their performance Saturday, and given the experience and maturity of this team, that shouldn’t be an issue.