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Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Georgetown preview

The No. 2 Terrapins face their last road test of the season Wednesday night.

Maryland women’s lacrosse Jen Giles vs. Michigan Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

No. 2-ranked Maryland women’s lacrosse (15-0, 5-0 Big Ten) will take a short trip to Washington, D.C., to face off with the No. 24 Georgetown Hoyas (8-6, 2-1 Big East).

Maryland faced a uniquely tough task last time out in its 17-13 win over No. 5 Northwestern, as both teams had to change venues in the middle of the second half to finish the game. Senior leaders Caroline Steele and Erica Evans combined for nine goals, and stepped up when the team needed them most.

The Terrapins struggled in the first half, but were able to turn things on once the game was moved inside, preserving their undefeated record and securing another top-five win. Maryland is now 4-0 against teams ranked inside the top five, and is a combined 8-0 against top-10 opponents.

As the regular season winds down, Maryland will have chances to settle down and regroup ahead of the postseason. A five-day rest period between the Northwestern and Georgetown matchups, along with a week and a half of rest before the finale versus Johns Hopkins, will provide the team with valuable time to recuperate and continue learning.

Wednesday’s game begins at 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

No. 24 Georgetown Hoyas (8-6, 2-1 Big East)

2018 record: 12-7, 7-1

Head coach Ricky Fried is in his 15th season leading the Georgetown program. He has amassed a career record of 159-110, and has gone 82-19 in Big East play throughout his tenure. The Hoyas have secured seven Big East regular-season titles and a conference tournament tile in 2010. They’ve reached the NCAA Tournament eight times, but have failed to advance further than the quarterfinals.

Players to know

Senior midfield Francesca Whitehurst (No. 26) is the most dangerous person on the Georgetown roster. She has scored 25 goals this season, and leads the Hoyas with 21 assists and 48 draw controls. “We think she’s just so good and fast and talented,” head coach Cathy Reese said of Whitehurst. “So it’ll be a good challenge for us defensively to just kind of see if we can come together again and limit opportunities.”

Senior attack Morgan Ryan (No. 14) leads the Georgetown offense with 33 goals on the season, and also leads all starters by shooting 46.5 percent. She has converted four out of five free-position chances and secured 18 draw controls. Despite being a bit overshadowed by the production of Whitehurst, Ryan could easily take command of any game.

Three things to watch

1. How well does Maryland regroup after such a wild game? A situation like what the Terrapins faced against Northwestern is a once-in-a-career type of game. Not only was it a top-five battle, but wild weather, a delay and changing venues sent that win over the top. Coming back down to earth and refocusing down the stretch of the regular season, and into postseason play, will be instrumental for the team’s success.

“Well, we’re coming up on a really fun part of the season,” sophomore midfielder Grace Griffin mentioned as the regular season draws to a close. “But just making sure that we’re staying with our roots and focusing on one game at a time ... and building off of what we’ve built on all season.”

2. Avoiding turnovers will almost certainly equal success in this matchup. One of the few weaker spots of this Terrapin team has been turnovers, and despite them being one of the top teams in the nation at limiting turnovers, they’re not quite satisfied. The Hoyas force an average of 17 turnovers per game, and that really has been the one staple for them to hand their hats on in 2019.

“Georgetown will play more of a zone,” Reese noted ahead of Wednesday’s game. “So sometimes where we can get caught up with that is when you pass the ball in too quickly. You see something, you throw it in, and it just gets knocked down too quickly. ... Possession matters—we don’t have to score in 10 seconds, we need to make sure we’re finding the right opportunity.”

3. How will Maryland handle the zone? A few teams flashed the zone defense against the Terrapins earlier this season, and that’s where turnovers and mistakes were prevalent. Patience on offense will be a major key to Maryland coming out on top in this final nonconference matchup.

“I think with the zone you can see these holes and think that someone’s open a lot,” senior midfielder Jen Giles said. “We just need to make sure that when we feed it in the middle, or we take that drive, that it’s the right one and take the extra second to score.”