Coming off a double-overtime win against No. 4-ranked Syracuse, the No. 2 Maryland women’s lacrosse team welcomes No. 6 Penn to College Park for a Wednesday matchup.
The Quakers are 6-0 on the season, with two wins coming against top-25 opponents. Those two matches gave Penn the most trouble, and resulted in one-goal wins. No. 17-ranked Johns Hopkins took its matchup into overtime, while the Quakers are coming off an 8-7 win against No. 21 Georgetown in which they scored the last two goals in regulation.
Maryland has made a habit of playing close games against ranked opponents, with their last two home games, against No. 3 North Carolina and No. 4 Syracuse, resulting in double-overtime wins for the Terps.
“The way that our team has found a way to win those two overtime games speaks so much about this group and what they’re made of,” head coach Cathy Reese said Tuesday. “The fact that we could come through huge when the game was on the line was awesome to see.”
Opening draw between the Terrapins and Quakers is set for 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and will be streamed on BTN Plus.
No. 6 Penn Quakers (6-0)
2018 record: 14-5, 6-1 Ivy
Head coach Karin Corbett is in her 20th season as head coach at the University of Pennsylvania and has turned the program into a recognizable name. In 2000 she took over a program that had a 1-14 record the year prior, and has averaged 11.4 wins per season through her first 19 years. Under her direction, the Quakers have qualified for the NCAA Tournament 12 season in a row and won 11 of the last 12 Ivy League titles. In 2008, the team upset Northwestern, spent a few weeks ranked No. 1 in the nation and made a run all the way to the NCAA final, where the Quakers lost in a rematch with the Wildcats.
Players to know
Junior attack Gabby Rosenzweig (No. 24) has been the dominant face of Penn women’s lacrosse since breaking onto the scene in 2017. Last season, she tied the program record with 85 points and was named an IWLCA Third Team All-American. A true dual-threat player on offense, Rosenzweig has scored 13 goals and notched 22 assists for a team-leading 35 points so far this season. Against Georgetown, Rosenzweig was held without a goal, and the Quakers escaped with a one goal win. If the Terrapins can shut her down, the Penn offense may struggle.
Sophomore attack Zoe Belodeau (No. 14) took the Ivy League by storm during her freshman season in 2018, becoming the first Quaker to earn First Team All-Conference as a rookie. She earned her spot thanks to dominance in the draw circle, where she controlled 103 draws in 2018. Belodeau also set Penn freshman records in goals (45), assists (35) and points (80).
In 2019, Belodeau has only ramped things up, as she enters the matchup with Maryland as Penn’s leading goal scorer with 15 on the season thus far. Her season high of five goals came during the team’s last outing, against Georgetown, where the Quakers squeaked out a one-goal win to remain perfect.
Three things to watch
1. Has Maryland found an answer for the turnovers? In their last three games, the Terrapins have turned the ball over 46 times, including 18 last weekend against Syracuse. While the draw control has gotten better, turnovers have become a problem, and have negated the benefits of increased possessions. Junior defender Lizzie Colson said the defense can cut down on turnovers by “transitioning out of defense and getting it on to the attacking end.” Reese acknowledged that turnovers have been costly on both ends, so every position group has things to improve upon.
2. Will the Terrapins capitalize on the Quakers’ own turnover problem? Penn has turned the ball over 88 times through six games this season, so if the Terrapins can win the turnover battle, they should have a great chance to win this game. “[Penn] is a very disciplined team,” Cathy Reese said before this matchup. She believes that rather than keying in on forcing turnovers, Maryland can capitalize by not turning the ball over themselves.
3. Can Maryland play a consistent game throughout? Lacrosse is a game of runs and Maryland is no stranger to that. A majority of the Terrapins’ matchups with tough opponents have gone down to the wire because of a lack of a consistent offense. Graduate senior Erica Evans said the key to success is simply playing “Maryland lacrosse.” With all of the individual talent on this team, if everyone can focus in, success will come.