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Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Rutgers preview

The Terrapins head back on the road, and back into Big Ten play.

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

No. 2-ranked Maryland women’s lacrosse (11-0, 2-0) will face its third set of two road games this weekend, starting with a trip to face Rutgers (5-6, 0-2).

The Terrapins are coming off of a 15-7 win Wednesday over No. 14 Princeton, where they were able to jump out in front and cruise to victory. Jen Giles and Kali Hartshorn each had four goals and one assist, while Megan Taylor remained strong in net, posting 14 saves against the Tigers.

Rutgers has faced four ranked opponents so far in 2019, but has been unable to come out on top. Its closest chance to pull off an upset came against James Madison, where the Scarlet Knights went into the half tied at 6-6, but the Dukes used a 4-1 second half to get the win.

While the Scarlet Knights have shown the potential to score at high rates, averaging 12.3 goals per game, they have also allowed an average of 13.2 goals per outing. Maryland has ultimately proven its defensive strength this year, so these numbers seem favorable for the Terrapins.

Saturday’s game is scheduled at 5 p.m. ET on BTN.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-6, 0-2)

2018 record: 7-10, 1-5

Head coach Laura Brand Sias is in her 18th year as a head coach, 17 of which have been at Rutgers, and has amassed a career record of 143-149 including her one season at Fairfield. The Scarlet Knights have reached six conference tournaments under her control, reaching as far as the Big Ten semifinal in 2016 after upsetting then-No. 19 Ohio State in the first round.

As a player for the Scarlet Knights, Brand Sias was a four-year letter winner at midfield, and helped lead Rutgers to its first national ranking and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1999.

Players to know

Sophomore attacker Taralyn Naslonski (No. 11) has been the leader of the Scarlet Knights’ offense, scoring 34 goals and 11 assists so far in 2019. Through these 11 games, Naslonski has surpassed her production in 17 games as a freshman in 2018. In a season-opening win versus LIU Brooklyn, Naslonski went off for seven goals, proving her ability to take control of any game.

Junior midfielder Samantha Budd (No. 7) is the other member of the two-headed Rutgers attack. Alongside Naslonski, Budd has accumulated 30 goals and 11 assists for 41 total points through 11 games this season. She has had a pair of huge performances as well, scoring eight goals against Lafayette and seven against Monmouth.

Three things to watch

1. Who will win the battle of the Hartshorn sisters? Maryland’s Kali Hartshorn will face off against her younger sister Marin for the first time on Saturday. Marin has burst onto the scene in 2019 for Rutgers, registering at least one point per game so far this season, including 17 goals and seven assists while also controlling 32 draws.

2. Can the Terrapins put a complete game together? Maryland has struggled with turnovers and other faults despite a perfect record so far in 2019, and the Terrapins are still working towards a perfect 60 minutes. With Megan Taylor on fire, and coming off three wins over ranked opponents, Maryland could be set for a truly complete game against the Scarlet Knights.

3. Will Cathy Reese tie the program record? Former head coach Cindy Timchal racked up 260 career wins in her time at Maryland, and with the Terrapins’ win over Princeton on Wednesday, Reese could tie the program record with a win on Saturday. Timchal won 85 percent of her games as Maryland’s head coach, but Reese currently holds a 92.5 percent winning percentage and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.