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Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Ohio State preview

The Terrapins play their third home game in a row and open Big Ten play Saturday.

Maryland women’s lacrosse Caroline Steele vs. George Mason Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

Maryland women’s lacrosse (7-0) will open up Big Ten conference play Saturday as it hosts Ohio State (6-2) at noon ET.

The Terrapins are coming off two top-10 home wins in row, after taking down No. 4 Syracuse last weekend and No. 6 Penn on Wednesday. The Buckeyes suffered a one goal-loss to UMass on Monday, their second loss of the season, with their other coming against their only ranked opponent so far this season, Notre Dame.

Saturday’s game will also be Maryland women’s lacrosse’s fifth annual JDRF fundraising game, which helps the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation try to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for us to just really increase awareness about Type 1 Diabetes,” Reese said earlier this week. “My son, who is age 14 now, was diagnosed at age 7 with Type 1 Diabetes and we’ve had a couple players come through that have had Type 1, and my roommate in college did too, so it’s a way for us to continue to stay connected with more of the bigger picture.”

Maryland women’s lacrosse has raised over $55,000 through their previous fundraisers for JDRF, and will certainly add on more this weekend with the main goal of helping find a cure.

Ohio State Buckeyes (6-2)

2018 record: 5-10, 1-5

Head coach Alexis Venechanos is in her ninth season at the helm in Columbus, and has reached high levels of success at every stop on her journey there. She has amassed over 100 wins as a head coach between her time with the Buckeyes and as the head coach of UMass. Venechanos also had a stint with Northwestern as an assistant coach.

Her name is recognizable to Maryland fans, as Venechanos was an All-American goalkeeper for the Terrapins. She played four seasons, from 2000-04, helping lead Maryland to a 73-15 record, including two national championships and perfect season in 2001.

Players to know

Junior midfielder Liza Hernandez (No. 12) leads Ohio State in points (39) as well as being the only Buckeye with double-digit assists, with 15 on the season. She also has 24 goals and has been a force all over the field by racking up ground balls, draw controls and more. Hernandez does also lead the team with 20 turnovers, so whether Maryland can force her into mistakes will be instrumental in the outcome of this game.

Senior midfielder Baley Parrott (No. 2) is Ohio State’s other scoring threat, along with Hernandez, as she leads the team with 26 goals on the season. Those 26 goals have come from just 40 shots, giving her a 65 percent mark so far. The Terrapins will have to once again make sure their individual marking is up to par to shut down this attack.

Junior goalkeeper Jill Rizzo (No. 1) has been the mainstay in net for the Buckeyes, tallying 460 minutes on the dot so far through eight games. She currently averages 10.96 goals against, and has a save percentage of 52.5 percent thus far. Maryland has faced its fair share of talented goalkeepers, and Rizzo will be yet another test for the Terrapin offense.

Three things to watch

1. How fresh are the Terps after a long week? Ohio State is Maryland’s third opponent in eight days, which should open the door for a deeper rotation by Cathy Reese. Caroline Steele has still been nursing her knee with various wraps and ice, plus younger players such as Julia Hoffman and Hannah Glaros have shown flashes of greatness when put on the field in 2019.

2. Can Maryland keep a handle on the Buckeye attack? Ohio State has a great amount of goal distribution on its offense, with five players scoring at least 10 goals so far this season. Many of the Terrapins’ opponents have had a key player or two to mark closely, but Ohio State could potentially keep things close with such a deep attack.

3. Will Megan Taylor continue her streak of brilliance? The senior goalkeeper has been lights-out in net for Maryland, notching two consecutive Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week awards, and even a National Defender of the Week award last week. Against Penn, her nine first-half saves were the difference, as they allowed Maryland to net eight consecutive goals and never look back. With a dominant performance Saturday, she could make it three weekly honors in a row.