Winning eight straight games is no small task, but Maryland women’s lacrosse has done it with ease over the past five weeks. It’s not just that the Terrapins are winning, it’s how they’re winning. Nearly every win has been in dominating fashion, with almost none of the scores ever being that close throughout the entire game.
And it’s not as if all of the games have been against weaker competition. Top-10 victories over Syracuse, Penn, and James Madison have become the norm for the Terps, as they tend to thrive against the best of the best.
That’ll hold true in their next test on Wednesday, when they’ll face off against the No. 10-ranked Virginia Cavaliers. The showdown is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPNU.
No. 10 Virginia Cavaliers (8-3)
2017 record: 12-9 (4-3 ACC)
Head coach Julie Myers is in her 23rd season as the leader in Charlottesville, bringing the Cavaliers to the NCAA Tournament each and every year she’s been on campus. Before receiving the head coaching job, Myers was an All-American player for Virginia. Between her time playing and coaching as an assistant and head coach, Myers has helped to bring home three national championships.
Players to know
Sophomore midfielder Sammy Mueller, No. 25. A year after being named ACC Freshman of the Year, Mueller is putting together a great sophomore campaign for the Cavaliers. The team leader in points, she’s compiled 31 goals and 11 assists so far this season. In her first year with the team, Mueller finished third with 37 goals. She’s on pace to shatter that mark here in 2018.
Junior attacker Avery Shoemaker, No. 6. Despite missing a game this season, Shoemaker has still managed to pace the team in goals. She’s really come alive here in her third season, as she saw little playing time as a freshman and had moderate success last season. She’s being called an X-factor, and for good reason: Shoemaker ranks among the best players in the nation with 3.20 goals per game.
Three things to watch
1. It’s a home game. No matter who walks into the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex, Maryland walks a way with a victory. They haven’t fallen in College Park since 2012, a feat that rivals some of the best records in all of sports. And while Virginia may be a top team in the nation, are they good enough to knock off the Terps at home?
2. It’s on national TV. When the pressure is at its highest, Cathy Reese’s teams seem to rise to the occasion time and time again. Maryland has had multiple games on national television so far this year, and all but one of the remaining games will be going forward. So far, the Terrapins have played even better when all eyes are on them, and that confidence boost should help them on Wednesday.
3. Maryland has dominated the series. The last time Virginia was able to knock off the Terps was in April of 2008 during the ACC Tournament, which happened to be played on Virginia’s campus. Since that day, Maryland has won 12 straight games against its former ACC foe. Not only will the Terps be the better team to walk on the field Wednesday, they also have history on their side. That’s a dangerous combination for the Cavaliers.