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Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Princeton preview

The Terrapins will face their third ranked opponent in the last seven days.

Maryland women’s lacrosse Kali Hartshorn vs. George Mason Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

No. 2-ranked Maryland women’s lacrosse (10-0) will play host to No. 14 Princeton (5-2) on Wednesday, as the Terrapins hope to continue their strong start into the second half of the season.

Maryland comes into this matchup 10-0 on the season, with six wins coming over ranked opponents. Last time out, the Terrapins took down defending national champion James Madison, 18-5, on the road.

Princeton, on the other hand, is coming off a one-goal loss to Brown, 12-11, that dropped the team from ninth to 14th in the IWLCA Division I poll. The Tigers average 14.85 goals per game on offense, but also have held opponents to just 38.3 percent shooting on the defensive end.

Opening draw between the Terrapins and Tigers on Wednesday is set for 7 p.m. ET, and will be the first women’s lacrosse game to be televised on FS1.

No. 14 Princeton Tigers (5-2)

2018 record: 13-6, 6-1 Ivy League

Head coach Chris Sailer is in her 33rd season as head coach of the Princeton women’s lacrosse program. She has led the Tigers to 14 Ivy League titles, 25 NCAA Tournament appearances and three national championships. With the season-opening win against Temple, Sailer captured her 400th win, making her the first coach, male or female, to win 400 games at a single school.

Players to know

Senior attacker Elizabeth George (No. 20) currently leads the Tigers on offense with 33 points so far in 2019 off of 20 goals and 13 assists. She has been able to land 85 percent of her shots on net, and 50 percent of them have been for goals. George also has 39 draw controls this season, which is 18 more than anyone else on the Princeton roster.

Junior attacker Tess D’Orsi (No. 8) is the leading goal scorer for Princeton with 26 goals through seven games. She has scored at least two goals every game this season, and has not had less than three points in any outing. Forcing the attack out of her hands will be one pillar necessary for a successful game against the Tigers.

Sophomore attacker Kyla Sears (No. 7) stands as the third head of the Princeton attack. She has tallied 20 goals and 11 assists, with 77.5 percent of her shots going on target and a 50 percent scoring rate. The Tigers also sport a 45 percent conversion rate on free-position chances, and Sears leads the team with eight goals off of 15 free-position shot attempts.

Three things to watch

1. How will the Princeton-Maryland rivalry continue? Last season, the Terrapins defeated Princeton on the road, 11-10, thanks to a second-half comeback. Head coach Cathy Reese set the stage by saying, “[Princeton vs Maryland] has a lot of tradition. From way back during my playing days and before. Princeton has a strong team every year and their coach has just done a really great job with that team. So, we expect this year to be no different than any other year.”

2. Can the Terrapins limit turnovers? Against Penn State, Maryland was able to to buckle down and cut down on turnovers, with just six despite rainy conditions and facing a ranked opponent. On Sunday, however, the Terrapins doubled the previous game’s turnover count with 12 against the Dukes. Junior attacker Brindi Griffin mentioned that the team has been working on the turnover problem ahead of this matchup.

“The past couple games we’ve had a lot,” Griffin said of the turnovers, “We really want to emphasize when we come up with a big stop on defense and bring it down, we really want to capitalize on that. [Maryland’s coaches] were talking about ‘This goalie is really good’ and taking the extra second to really fake and stick it.”

3. Just how good can Megan Taylor and the defense get? Taylor earned her fourth straight Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honor after last week’s performances against Penn State and James Madison, and it doesn’t seem like she’s slowing down at all. Maryland has held its last three opponents to just 12 goals combined, but the team believes it can keep getting better.

Taylor specifically discussed the team’s goal of “putting together a full 60 minutes” and mentioned the Terps aren’t quit there yet. “I don’t think it’s going to come right away ... it’s something you build up to all year,” Taylor said, “Hopefully each game we get farther into that 60-minute mark.”