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No. 11 Maryland women’s lacrosse preview vs. Rutgers: Part 2

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The regular season finale for the Terps will come against a Scarlet Knight team looking for revenge.

The No. 11 Maryland women’s lacrosse team finished off its home schedule with another close finish against No. 20 Johns Hopkins.

On March 12, the Blue Jays took the Terrapins to overtime before attacker Hannah Leubecker’s fourth score won the game. This recent go-around seemed destined for extra time once again, only this time it was midfielder Grace Griffin converting on the game-winner with just 39.3 seconds remaining in regulation.

Looking ahead, Maryland has another quick turnaround for its second matchup of the season versus No. 24 Rutgers. In their last meeting, the Terps came away with a 14-12 victory despite committing 17 turnovers.

Sunday’s regular-season finale will be played in Piscataway, New Jersey, at 3 p.m. and will be streamed on BTN Plus.

What happened last time

The Terps picked up a huge victory on its senior day against the Scarlet Knights following two double-digit losses to Northwestern the weekend prior.

Senior goalkeeper Madison Hine held down the fort in her first career start, but four goals by the Scarlet Knights to end the half made it a tight game. The tides shifted following the collapse down the stretch for the Terps, as they continued to rack up turnover after turnover.

Maryland did just enough to hold off Rutgers and never let the Scarlet Knights take a lead. The road team pieced together a three-goal run late to tie it at 12, but midfielder Shaylan Ahearn and attacker Brindi Griffin were able to put the game away for good.

What has happened since

Maryland fell apart in its first game following the Rutgers win, losing 16-9 against No. 14 Penn State. The turnover woes continued, as they racked up 16 and failed to consistently attack the Nittany Lions’ stout defense.

The Terps rebounded fairly well against Hopkins, but some of those consistency issues lingered into its most recent match. If not for Grace Griffin and Brindi Griffin scoring in the final 2:48, the narrative for Maryland’s recent stretch could have been completely different.

Rutgers has played the same pair of teams but has seen opposite results. They started with a road matchup against Hopkins, losing 17-10. But the Scarlet Knights fended off a possible seven-game losing streak with a huge 17-16 victory over Penn State.

Three things to watch

1. How will the Terps close out its regular season? This year has been an up and down venture for Cathy Reese’s Terrapins. Their defense has stood out as one of the conference’s best, spearheaded by Preseason All-American defender Lizzie Colson. But the offense has suffered most as the Terps have fluctuated between above and below .400 shooting percentage. So which Maryland team will we see on Sunday? Will this be the game where Maryland finds some consistency from game to game or will this be another chapter in the growing pains for the Terrapins this season?

2. Can Maryland keep the turnovers at bay? Last week Maryland finally seemed to conjure up a repellent to its turnover woes of recent. Although the team finished with 17 (Maryland averages 14.82 a game), the unforced giveaways were significantly down. After committing a combined 15 self-imposed turnovers in the previous two matchups, Maryland limited that number to just three against Hopkins. Giveaways come with the territory, but if the Terps can continue to keep its self-inflicted numbers down, then a strong finish to the season seems to be promising

3. What will senior leadership look like down the stretch? There was no better example of Maryland’s seniors willing its team to victory than on Wednesday, as Brindi Griffin and Grace Griffin fired in the team’s final two goals to come out victorious. On-field play from its leaders is crucial and leading by example could push this Terrapin team to play its best lacrosse of the season down the stretch.