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Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Rutgers preview

The Terps resume Big Ten play one day earlier than previously scheduled.

NCAA Lacrosse: Women's Championships Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland women’s lacrosse’s senior day was planned for a nice Saturday afternoon in College Park to honor the program’s fourth-year players. However, thanks to snow in the forecast, “senior day” has become “senior night.” To avoid the extreme weather and ensure that Rutgers does not have to travel in dangerous conditions, Saturday’s game has been moved to Friday night.

This is following another top-10 victory for the Terrapins, as they dismissed Virginia at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex, 15-8.

The Scarlet Knights are coming into College Park having won two of their past three games, the most recent being a 12-9 victory against Lafayette. Friday’s game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET and can be heard on WMUC Sports.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-7)

2017 Record: 8-8 (2-4 Big Ten)

Head coach Laura Brand Sias is now in her 16th season in that role. She originally coached at Fairfield, but returned to her alma mater after just one season. Her career record of 137-140 (.495) may leave a lot to be desired, but that tally has been deflated due to Rutgers’ tough transition to the Big Ten. Since leaving the Big East for greener pastures after the 2014 season, the Scarlet Knights are just 22-43 and 5-13 in conference play.

Players to know

Senior attacker Kerri Puckhaber, No. 20. Like Maryland, the Scarlet Knights are led by a dynamic senior on offense. She leads the team in points, tallying 22 goals and 12 assists to pace her squad. And with a shot percentage of .512, she is able to get quality shots consistently to help Rutgers.

Sophomore midfielder Samantha Budd, No. 7. Ranked in the top-10 in the conference in goals per game, Budd has been a bright spot for Rutgers on offense. She leads the team in goals with 26, and she is only getting better as time goes on. Budd is also great on the draw control, as she is No. 7 in the Big Ten with 3.8 controls per game.

Three things to watch

1. Who starts (and plays) for the Terps? Friday is senior day, but most of Maryland’s top contributors aren’t in their final season with the team. Against a less competitive opponent in Rutgers, Cathy Reese may have more creative license and room to tinker with the lineup. It’ll be interesting to see whether the seniors get extended minutes.

2. Does Megan Whittle break the scoring record? Now in her fourth year of dominance for the Terps, Whittle is within striking distance of Jen Adams’ program lead in goals. Just five goals behind arguably the greatest women’s lacrosse player in history, it’s not a matter of if Whittle breaks the record, but when. And if that could occur on senior day, it’d be a great moment for Maryland lacrosse.

3. Does the short rest matter? It hasn’t yet this season, but Wednesday’s game was more physical than others have been. Virginia racked up a ridiculous 30 fouls, and Maryland saw a number of players get roughed up, including Grace Griffin, who had to leave the game. We’ll see how that excess physicality affects the Terrapins when they have just one day to recover.