2015 had a lot of ups and downs for Maryland Terrapins athletics. The first half of the year wrapped up the school's inaugural campaign as a member of the Big Ten Conference after officially joining the league on July 1, 2014. The early portion of the year saw Maryland men's basketball return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010, following a 2nd place finish in their first Big Ten campaign. The women's basketball team went undefeated in B1G play, won the B1G tournament, and returned to the Final Four for the second consecutive year. And the baseball team showed their 2014 postseason was no fluke, as they upset No. 1 UCLA and again returned to their second-straight Super Regional. Both lacrosse teams made it to the NCAA Championship game, where the women's team captured their second-straight title.
2015 also brought a lot of change to Maryland, most notably with their football program. After a rather successful first year in the Big Ten, the football program began 2015 by going 2-4, which included an embarassing 48-27 home loss to Bowling Green. Following a 49-28 loss at Ohio State, athletic director Kevin Anderson officially fired head coach Randy Edsall. During his four and a half seasons at Maryland, Edsall went 22-34, including an 0-12 mark against ranked teams. After offensive coordinator Mike Locksley served as interim head coach, compiling a 1-5 record, Maryland hired Michigan defensive coordinator DJ Durkin as the school's new head coach.
Byrd Stadium name change
In 2015, the school also moved forward with renaming their football stadium, taking former university president
Curley Byrd's name off the building and re-branding it "Maryland Stadium."
Maryland also reaped the financial benefits of joining the Big Ten in 2015, experiencing a 27.6% increasing in their revenue during their first year as a member of the conference. But despite that increase, the school still lags far behind its B1G peers.
In 2015, Maryland won just one national title as the women's lacrosse team captured their second-straight championship and 12th overall.
The men's lacrosse team reached the national title game, but once again couldn't end their 40-year title drought, falling to Denver 10-5. It was the eighth time since 1976 that the Terps have reached the national title game and the eighth time that they've lost.
In 2015, Maryland captured seven Big Ten conference and regular season championships.
Regular season: women's lacrosse, men's lacrosse*, women's basketball, field hockey.
B1G Tournament: field hockey, men's soccer, women's basketball
* - Maryland was co-regular season champions in men's lacrosse with Johns Hopkins
Below, we give a brief recap of how each of Maryland's 19 sports fared during 2015 and in some cases a preview of what to expect in 2016.
Maryland football entered 2015 having experienced a mostly successful first year as a member of the Big Ten conference. Aside from a bad collapse against Rutgers and disappointing showing in the Fosters Farm Bowl against Stanford, the Terps accomplished a lot in 2014, winning at Michigan and Penn State and reaching a bowl game for the second consecutive season. But any good will from 2014 quickly evaporated in 2015, as the team lost two of their first four games by a combined 93-33 margin. The Terps began Big Ten play by losing their first eight conference games, during which head coach Randy Edsall was dismissed.
Maryland's biggest issue all season came at the quarterback position, where the Terps led all 128 FBS schools with 29 interceptions and ranked 94th in touchdowns thrown (15).
Maryland officially ended the Randy Edsall era by hiring Michigan defensive coordinator DJ Durkin as his replacement. Durkin has already begun assembling an impressive staff at Maryland and has shown immediate early success on the recruiting trail, where the Terps have picked up commitments from some very talented local recruits.
2015 saw the Maryland men's basketball team return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010, led by freshman point guard Melo Trimble and senior Dez Wells. The Terps finished second behind Wisconsin in the Big Ten regular season and lost to West Virginia in the round of 32.
The 2014-2015 season was an important one for Maryland, but what happened in the subsequent months after the season concluded were even more important. The Terps received a commitment from five-star center Diamond Stone and both Melo Trimble and junior Jake Layman, who were exploring potentially entering the NBA draft, decided to return to school. A few weeks later, former Duke Blue Devils guard Rasheed Sulaimon announced he was transferring to Maryland, where he was eligible to play immediately.
While the Terps lost sophomore guard Dion Wiley to a season-ending injury, the team is still considered one of the nation's best, entering 2016 with a 12-1 record and ranked No. 4 in both major polls.
Maryland began the 2014-2015 season fresh off of an appearance in the Final Four. In their first season as a member of the Big Ten conference, they dominated in a way that few teams ever have, going undefeated in B1G play and winning the Big Ten Conference tournament. They continued that success in the NCAA Tournament, making the Final Four for the second consecutive season, but falling to eventual national champion UConn.
Maryland came into this season with the goal of making their third straight trip to the Final Four. The Terps started the season ranked in the top-10 and overpowered the early part of their schedule. Maryland suffered their first loss at the hands of top-ranked and three-time defending NCAA Champion UConn, but answered every Huskies run with one of their own and showed they can compete with what is arguably the nation's top team once again.
Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough have played like stars this season. Jones dominated UConn on national TV, scoring a game-high 24 points on 10-12 shooting. Maryland has fantastic size and great depth. The Terps match up well with any team. If the team can stay healthy, Maryland should remain in the conversation as a team who could win it all this year.
Maryland baseball finished fourth in the Big Ten in the regular season but heated up at the perfect time. The Terrapins finished second in the Big Ten Tournament, and then shocked the college baseball world by knocking off the No. 1 overall seed, UCLA, in the NCAA Regionals. Maryland lost in heart-breaking fashion to eventual-NCAA Champion Virginia in the Super Regionals. It was the second year in a row that UVA ousted Maryland in the Super Regionals.
Mike Shawaryn is the ace of the staff, and put together the best season for a starting pitcher in Maryland history last year. He broke the single-season records for wins and strikeouts and he already owns the career record for wins coming into this season. He was named a first-team All-American last year and was named a preseason All-American heading into the season. Maryland won a school-record 42 games last year, and have a chance to match or break it this season.
Men's soccer had a somewhat disappointing regular season in 2015, going 3-2-3 in conference play and finishing tied for third place in their second season as a member of the B1G. But despite those struggles, the team was able to win their second-straight Big Ten tournament title, defeating Ohio State in Columbus 2-0 and earning a 10-seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Terps defeated Virginia and Notre Dame, but lost to Clemson on penalty kicks in the Elite Eight.
For the 2015 Maryland women's soccer team, the strengths and weaknesses of this squad quickly became apparent. The defense, despite losing senior Erika Nelson to injury, was stingy, and the midfield was easily adequate. However, the offense struggled as Alex Anthony was exposed as Maryland's lone legitimate scoring threat. The team could not overcome its attacking deficiency, leading to a 6-12-1 overall record and a 1-9-1 record in conference play. Maryland finished the season tied for last place in the Big Ten. Head coach Jonathan Morgan resigned after the season.
To add insult to injury, 11 of their 12 losses were decided by one goal. Included in those 11 are 1-0 losses to NCAA Tournament quarterfinalist West Virginia, semi-finalist Rutgers and national champion Penn State. Soccer can be cruel, but this team was very close to having things go completely differently for them.
For the Maryland men's lacrosse team, 2015 was a repeat of a very familiar story. The Terps made their eighth appearance in the National Title game since they last won it in 1975, and for the eighth time, they lost, this time to Denver.
The Terps finished as co-regular season champions in their first B1G season, tied with arch rival Johns Hopkins who became a B1G member in lacrosse only. Maryland at one point won a school-record 11-straight games and overall exceeded expectations, even if they were unable to win the school's third national title.
In 2016, the Terrapins bring back most of their key players on defense, including national goalkeeper of the year, Kyle Bernlohr. Maryland had the nation's top scoring defense last season. There is no reason to think that they won't have one of the top defenses in the country again this year.
Two things to watch for will be how Maryland replaces the outstanding faceoff production that Charlie Raffa gave them and whether or not the offense can pick up the pace. The offense looked really bad against Denver and there was no sense of urgency, even when they were down by a sizeable margin. The Terps need to get more creative on offense if they want to win the national title for the first time in over 40 years.
Maryland is once again atop of the women's lacrosse world, capturing their second consecutive NCAA title in 2015. They began the season as the nation's No. 1 ranked team and didn't disappoint. While they captured the B1G regular season title, they fell in the semi-finals of the Big Ten Conference tournament. But after that loss, Maryland marched through the NCAA tournament, overcoming a three goal halftime deficit against North Carolina to win the school's 12th National Championship in women's lacrosse.
The two-time defending NCAA Champions will start the 2016 season at the top of the polls like they did last year. The unquestioned leader of this team is senior Taylor Cummings. She will likely finish her career as the most decorated NCAA women's lacrosse player EVER. Her career record at Maryland is a staggering 66-3, and she has already won two Tewaaraton awards (the lacrosse equivalent of the Heisman Trophy). The Terrapins recently had five returning players named Preseason All-Americans by Inside Lacrosse, and also bring in the nation's second-ranked recruiting class.
The Terps lost a lot of seniors to graduation, and UNC and Northwestern are both better than they were last year. Last year's team had more talent, but Cummings and Maryland are certainly a threat to three-peat in 2016.
Maryland wrestling, it seems, gets hit by the injury bug year after year after year. This season is no different. This squad is much more talented than last year's and will almost certainly deliver Maryland's first-ever Big Ten dual win. This season, Terps have beaten relatively good teams like Drexel and Hofstra, but they've also suffered close losses to Pitt and Buffalo.
Maryland should finish the season with a better record overall and in Big Ten play, with the potential of up to six or seven Terps qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Despite that potential Maryland will likely not have an All-American this season. That would be a blow to head coach Kerry McCoy since last year was his first season as a head coach where he didn't have one of his guys on the podium at the end of the season.
Under first year head coach Courtney Scott Deifel, Maryland went 27-27 overall and 9-14 in conference play, a 16-game improvement over their previous season. The Terps lost in their first game of the Big Ten Tournament to Penn State.
Following the season, Courtney Scott Deifel was hired away from Maryland to take over at Arkansas. Julie Wright was hired as Maryland's third head coach in three years last July. She'll try to help the Terps improve on last year's performance. Madison Martin redshirted last year due to an injury and will return for this season. She is probably Maryland's best pitcher and is arguably the best player on the team. Corey Schwartz provides good power at second base, and hit at a solid .320 clip last season. Kristina Dillard, a transfer from Louisville, will start at catcher. Martin's return should help the Terps, and I expect Maryland to finish the season over .500.
David Kocher has been the bright spot for Maryland men's golf so far this season. He won the Firestone Invitational, leading the Terps to win the Invitational as a team as well. He placed in the top-five at the Maryland Terrapin Invitational, which vaulted Maryland to a third-place finish as a team. Senior Tom Harris has been a steady and consistent contributor.
The men head back into action in February when they head down to Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Classic.
Maryland women's golf has had some trouble with consistency but finished in the top-five at the Pinehurst Challenge, top-10 at the Mercedes-Benz Championships and top-20 at the Palmetto Intercollegiate and Cougar Classic. The Terps are balanced but don't have a star player.
Like the men's team, the women are off until February when they head to San Juan for the Lady Puerto Rico Classic.
Men and women's track and field
Thea LaFond and Jakub Zivec starred for Maryland last year. LaFond was named the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year while Zivec made the NCAA Finals in the 1500 meters. Unfortunately for Maryland, the Terps lost a lot of talent to graduation, including Zivec and LaFond.
Andrew Valmon, the U.S. Olympic track and field coach and Maryland head coach, always seems to find answers. Based on last year's performances, it looks like the women's side has more talent than the men. Chioma Onyekwere, Micha Powell and Peyton Wade all had very good years and could be poised to breakout this season. I think Maryland can have success this season but they won't be able to replace the production they lost.
Women's cross country
Alexandra Lucki paced the Terps this season. She won the Gettysburg Invitational, leading Maryland to win the Invitational as a team. Seven Maryland runners placed in the top-20 at the event. Sydney Almeida and Emily VandeWater were key contributors throughout the season as the Terps marginally improved in their second year in the Big Ten.
Maryland placed last in the Big Ten at the Big Ten Championships last season but moved up and took 11th this season. Lucki's 45th place finish at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regionals helped Maryland take 13th as a team.
Women's field hockey
Maryland field hockey lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1990. While the loss was a crushing end to the season, the year had some historic moments. The Terrapins started the year by matching a school-record set in the 1990s. However, the record was not one they meant to match. After consecutive losses to No. 13 Boston College, No. 5 Duke and No. 7 Albany, they became the first Maryland field hockey team to lose three straight games since 1998.
However, Maryland bounced back to win 17 straight games, including five straight games with a shutout, the most in program history. Head coach Missy Meharg also became just the fourth Division I coach to reach 500 wins. After the season, four Terrapins were named All-Americans. Seniors Anna Dessoye and Sarah Sprink made the first team, while freshman Linnea Gonzales and fifth-year senior Welma Luus earned second team honors.
In its second season in the Big Ten, Maryland volleyball looked to take strides in the right direction. The Terps began the season on the right path as they opened with a 9-0 record and reached 10 wins in their first 11 matches. The schedule only got tougher from there as they went on a 12-match losing skid that included several highly-ranked teams. The highlight of the season came when the Terps knocked down No. 12 Ohio State in straight sets. It was Maryland volleyball's first victory over a ranked opponent since they defeated Florida State five years ago. The Terps finished the season with consecutive victories over Iowa and Northwestern. The team finished with a 15-19 overall record and a 5-15 record in Big Ten play. They won five more matches overall and two more conference matches in 2015 than they did in 2014.
Injuries hurt the Terps as they lost seniors Emily Fraik and Kelsey Hrebenach before conference play began. The team struggled with depth because of the injuries, and spent a large portion of conference play attempting to find a rotation that could win matches. Adreene' Elliott shined in her final season as a Terrapin. She was named an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America Honorable Mention after missing nearly all of the 2014 season due to a knee injury. The combination of highly-touted recruits and returning talent has the potential to be very good and will likely lead Maryland to more success in the 2016 season.
Maryland gymnastics had one of their best seasons in a long time last year. The team finished the season with a 14-9-1 record, but the real accomplishment of their season was their performance at NCAA Regionals. The Terps placed third, their highest finish in an NCAA Regional since 2001. Maryland has qualified for seven consecutive NCAA Regional, and it's hard to imagine that they won't make it eight this season.
Senior Kathy Tang and junior Sarah Faller will be instrumental in leading this team. I think freshman Macey Roberts is going to surprise a lot of people on beam. If Maryland stays healthy, they could have a competitive team. I don't think they will win the Big Ten but they could be in the mix to place well again at the NCAA Regionals.
Maryland women's tennis went 1-7 to close out last season, leaving the Terps with a bitter taste in their mouths. The Terps were 10-12 overall and 3-8 in conference play. Welma Luus will not return and that is a big blow to this team. Luus played No. 1 doubles and also was a very good singles player. This year's squad will once again have an international flair to it because there are more international players on Maryland's roster (6) than Americans (4).
With the exception of Luus, the Terps return virtually all of their major contributors on the singles and doubles sides. If they can play consistently and stay healthy, they can and should improve on their 2014-2015 season.