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Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. James Madison preview

The Terrapins will look to move to 10-0 on the season.

NCAA Lacrosse: Women’s Lacrosse Championship-James Madison vs Boston College Chris Bergmann-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Maryland women’s lacrosse (9-0, 2-0) travels to face No. 7 James Madison (7-2) in its second road game against a ranked opponent in four days.

The Terrapins are coming off of a road win against No. 23 Penn State that lacked a powerful start. Maryland trailed 4-3 to the Nittany Lions in the first half, but was ultimately able to run away with a 17-6 victory behind four goals from Grace Griffin and hat tricks from Caroline Steele and Kali Hartshorn.

This matchup will be Maryland’s fifth against a top-10 opponent. The matchups against North Carolina and Syracuse went to double-overtime, but the Terrapins had their way with Florida on the road and Penn at home. In each of its toughest games, Maryland has let teams linger due to mistakes in different phases of their game.

Maryland handed James Madison its only loss last season in College Park, as the Dukes went on to win the national championship. After losing a lot of talent in the offseason, JMU has lost its two matchups against top-10 opponents, No. 2 North Carolina and No. 8 Virginia. The Dukes have dominated the rest of their schedule, but have been less effective in the draw circle compared to Maryland and turn the ball over an average of 15.5 times per game.

Opening draw between the Terrapins and Dukes is set for 12:30 p.m. ET, and will be televised on NBC Sports Washington.

No. 7 James Madison (7-2)

2018 record: 22-1, 6-0 CAA, national champions

Head coach Shelley Klaes-Bawcombe is in her 13th season at James Madison and has amassed a record of 158-77 in her time leading the Dukes. James Madison has reached six NCAA Tournaments under her control, including four straight appearances, and reached the pinnacle of women’s lacrosse by winning the 2018 national title.

Players to know

Senior attacker Hanna Haven (No. 4) leads James Madison in all offensive categories and has landed herself on the 2019 Tewaaraton Award Watch List. She has tallied 19 goals, 18 assists, 37 points and 48 shots so far in 2019 after scoring 47 goals and 32 assists in 2018. Haven also has scored four out of 10 free-position chances this season, so eliminating her from as many phases of the Dukes’ offense will be key.

Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Molly Dougherty (No. 33) has captained the goalkeeper position for James Madison in 2019, tallying 501 minutes in net through nine games. She comes into this matchup averaging just 9.46 goals against per game and a save percentage of 52.1 percent, which is just 6.1 percent lower than Megan Taylor. After recording at least nine saves in her last four outings, including 19 against Penn State, Maryland will need to be on top of their game to get by Dougherty.

Three things to watch

1. Will Maryland continue to excel in ball control? The Terrapins led the draw control 19-6 and were able to limit turnovers to just six against Penn State. Throughout this season, Maryland has usually failed to shine in both categories, which has allowed teams to hang around. James Madison is a team that has struggled with ball control even more than Maryland, with 15.5 turnovers per game and winning just 54.5 percent of their draws this season, so the Terrapins taking advantage of these miscues will be key.

2. Who will step up on the attack? With Caroline Steele not feeling 100 percent, and Maryland playing three games in seven days, watch out for the Terrapins’ attack to become even more diverse. Support from midfielders such as Erica Evans and Jen Giles will be critical in this matchup, and younger players will see the field to keep legs fresh moving forward.

3. Can Maryland dominate from the opening whistle? While the Terrapins are 9-0 and their last game out against Penn State ended as a 17-6 victory, their start was concerning and will be something to look at in this one. In other matchups with top-10 opponents, Maryland has allowed teams to hang around, but a dominant start and keeping a stranglehold on opposing runs could lead to a dominant top-10 victory.