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Maryland women’s lacrosse vs. Johns Hopkins preview

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The Terrapins look to win the Big Ten regular season title outright.

Maryland women’s lacrosse Megan Taylor vs. Michigan Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

No. 2-ranked Maryland women’s lacrosse (16-0, 5-0) will host No. 23 Johns Hopkins (10-6, 2-3) on Saturday with the outright Big Ten regular-season title on the line.

The Terrapins struggled last time out against Georgetown, but found a way to win. The team faced its largest halftime deficit of the season, 8-4, but used a 13-0 second half run to claim the 17-8 victory.

Bright news has been the theme of this week for Maryland, however, as the NCAA Tournament and season awards are approaching. The NCAA Selection Committee became the first group to rank the Terrapins over Boston College, giving Maryland the No. 1 spot as of April 21.

On top of that ranking, the Tewaaraton Award announced its 25 nominees for the men’s and women’s award, and four Terrapins made the cut. Julia Braig, Jen Giles, Kali Hartshorn and Megan Taylor were all named in the list of 25 finalists. Maryland and Boston College were tied for most finalists, with four players each.

And finally, the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League announced the results of its draft Thursday night, and five Maryland players were selected out of the 25 draft picks. Erica Evans was selected fifth, Jen Giles went sixth, Julia Braig went 18th, Megan Taylor went 21st and Caroline Steele rounded out the draft class at 25th overall. The league will travel to five different cities over the summer, and will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.

Even with lots of noise this week despite having just one game, the Terrapins are trying to lock in as every game from this point forward has value.

Opening draw for Saturday’s game is set for 4:30 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

No. 23 Johns Hopkins (10-6, 2-3 Big Ten)

2018 record: 10-9, 3-3

Head coach Janine Tucker has been leading the Johns Hopkins program since 1993, and was a key part of its move from Division III lacrosse to Division I. Tucker is also nine wins away from 300 total wins at Hopkins, and sits as the winningest coach in program history. Under her leadership, the Blue Jays have made the NCAA Tournament in four of the past five seasons.

Players to know

Junior attack Maggie Schneidereith (No. 6) leads Johns Hopkins with 46 goals and 26 assists so far in 2019. Despite taking a team-leading 98 shots this season, Schneidereith manages to also lead the way by shooting 46.9 percent. Maryland will have a tough task on defense in managing Schneidereith, as she’s only been held under three points once this season.

Sophomore attack Aurora Cordingley (No. 45) is the next woman up for the Blue Jays, as she’s filled any gaps in play by Schneidereith. Cordingley has 32 goals and 20 assists in 2019, and has been very accurate with her shooting with 80 percent of her shots landing on target. She is also eight of 12 in free position chances, and has caused 20 turnovers despite being an attacker.

Three things to watch

1. Will Maryland shut down the Blue Jays’ attack? The final regular-season game for Maryland will come with yet another major test, as Johns Hopkins has four players with at least 21 goals and 40 or more points on the season. The Terrapins have done a great job of stopping dynamic team attacks, as well as individual stars, but the Blue Jays will have both. According to head coach Cathy Reese, team defense will be the key to Maryland shutting down the Johns Hopkins attack.

“Our defense will start our offense,” Reese said. “If we can lock some of their big guns down and play together well as a team and be consistent and take care of the ball as we transition in, that’s going to help our offense a lot more opportunities.”

2. Maryland needs to find a way to shake the slow starts. Northwestern being a top-five team comes with the expectation of a close game, but teams such as Georgetown certainly shouldn’t be able to control the Terrapins early on. With each game going forward having a bigger purpose, Maryland will certainly need to come out firing on all cylinders to keep pushing ahead.

“I think that we went in just being a little bit complacent,” senior midfielder Meghan Siverson said about the team’s last outing against Georgetown. “Coming out in the second half, we had the discussion of playing Maryland lacrosse and really picking each other up, and the energy all over the field, so once we turned up our own energy, good things started to happen.”

3. Can Maryland continue the unbeaten streak against Johns Hopkins? While the Maryland-Hopkins rivalry is mostly driven by the battle of the men’s teams, this game does serve as a solid battle for Maryland natives. The Blue Jays have 17 players from Maryland, while the Terrapins have 29 on their roster. The Terrapins currently hold a 17-0 record against the Blue Jays, but that won’t be taken for granted.

“Hopkins is a great team,” senior midfielder Jen Giles said. “We’re always looking forward to playing them. A lot of people have friends [on either team], so it’s nice to compete with people you know of and see around so we’re just excited to get that opportunity.”