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Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Boston College Final Four preview

It’s a title game rematch Friday night at Stony Brook.

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

After a comeback win over Navy, Maryland women’s lacrosse has made its 10th straight Final Four appearance. It wasn’t an easy victory, as the Terps found themselves down three goals in the second half. But thanks to Megan Whittle’s late emergence, they were able to come out on top.

The Terrapins are now headed to Stony Brook, New York, for the chance to defend their national championship. Maryland will be facing off against the Boston College Eagles in the second semifinal game of the weekend. The two teams last faced off in the 2017 national championship game last season.

Get to know Boston College

Record: 21-1 (9-1 ACC)

How did they get here? Boston College had a perfect regular season and nearly entered the NCAA Tournament with an undefeated record. The Eagles’ sole loss came to North Carolina in the ACC tournament final, but they’ve reignited their winning streak here in May. After earning the No. 4 seed and being granted a first-round bye, the Eagles rolled to a victory over Princeton before surviving an overtime showdown against then-undefeated Stony Brook.

Offensive standout: Sam Apuzzo’s junior season has been one to remember thus far, as the attacker has 81 goals and 118 points as the season winds down, ranking sixth and third in the nation in those categories, respectively. She has put herself in Tewaaraton Award contention, remaining as one of five finalists for the prestigious trophy. And this year’s success certainly isn’t a fluke, as Apuzzo had an 80/119 line last season as sophomore.

Defensive standout: Elizabeth Miller has started every game for the Eagles in her career thus far, and the junior’s 2018 campaign has been the best one to date. Named an Inside Lacrosse First Team All-American, Miller has been crucial to Boston College’s success thus far. Her main job is neutralizing an opponent’s top scorer, but she also has 29 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers on the season.

Strength: Led by Miller and supported by bevy of talented defenders, Boston College’s defense is among the best in the country. The Eagles allow just 9.23 goals per game, which slots them at No. 7 in the nation. They’ve kept 10 different opponents under 10 goals this season, which speaks to the dominance of the unit.

Weakness: But for as good as Boston College’s defense in, it can be exploited. Lauren Daly has racked up the awards this season, but she hasn’t been without fault in 2018. Her 9.26 goals-against average is among the best in the country, but a .421 save percentage places her at No. 62 among qualified goalies. The defense can limit the amount of shots Daly faces, but it can’t go so far as to stop those shots once they’re on target.

Preview vs. Maryland

Time: Friday, May 25, 7:30 p.m. ET, Stony Brook

Channel: ESPN3

What to watch for: The Terrapins had two possible scenarios in front of them: they could have played an undefeated Stony Brook team on its home field, or they could face Boston College, who wants nothing more than to get revenge for last year’s championship game. The latter has ultimately come to pass, but Maryland isn’t in too tough a situation.

Having played and beaten the Eagles in the biggest game of the season in 2017, Cathy Reese and Co. know what it takes to defeat them once more in the Final Four. Boston College may have that same benefit, but it is missing the player who gave Maryland fits all game last time around by racking up 10 points. Kenzie Kent took a redshirt this season due to her dedication to playing hockey, and while the likes of Apuzzo, Dempsey Arsenault and Kaileen Hart have taken steps forward, that loss could hurt the Eagles when it matters most.

Prediction: Maryland wins, 16-10.