Maryland women’s lacrosse (17-0, 6-0 Big Ten) has been given the No. 1 overall ranking by Inside Lacrosse and the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association for the first time in 2019.
The Terrapins had trailed Boston College in both polls all season, but North Carolina upset the previously-undefeated Eagles, 15-13, Sunday afternoon to claim its fourth ACC tournament championship in a row. The Tar Heels and Eagles split Nos. 2 and 3 in both polls.
Maryland’s successes in women’s lacrosse are definitely not new, but the levels they reach are hard to comprehend. This year’s Terrapin senior class finished its regular season career with a record of 67-1, with the one loss coming last season on the road in overtime against North Carolina.
“Look at this senior class,” Maryland head coach Cathy Reese said after the Terrapins’ win against Johns Hopkins on Saturday. “They’ve lost one game, in overtime, in four years. Like, that’s insane for a regular season record. I’m just proud of this class as a whole.”
The success of the program stretches far and wide beyond this class as well. Maryland has lost two regular-season games between 2013 and 2019, both against the Tar Heels, on the road, and by a combined total of three goals. In that span, Maryland is a combined 117-2 in the regular season across time in the ACC and Big Ten.
“[I] didn’t think about it,” Reese admitted when asked if she envisioned this level of success when switching conferences. “That was a big time in all of our lives here at Maryland, when we transitioned from the ACC to the Big Ten. But you welcome new challenges and new opponents to meet on a regular basis.“
Those challenges have been there, but Maryland has weathered through the storms. Just this season alone, the Terrapins have found themselves in a number of close games, including two home wins in double-overtime against North Carolina and Syracuse. Winning those games carries a lot of weight for the program, as Maryland has not lost at home since March 10, 2012, a streak that is now at 85 straight wins.
“Taking things one game at a time, one season at a time [is the key],” Reese said. “We’ve come a long way to be where we are right now, and obviously proud of our success so far, but now we’ve got a conference tournament that we’ve gotta turn around and prepare for with only a few days rest.”
Maryland has earned the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament, and will face off with Penn State on Friday at 5 p.m. ET. If the Terrapins advance, the final on Sunday would pin Maryland up against the winner of Northwestern vs. Michigan, with all games played at Homewood Field in Baltimore.
Nothing is guaranteed, even for a program with as much history as Maryland, so taking things one play at a time will continue to be the foundation of its success this postseason.