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Maryland men's lacrosse vs. Yale preview: Terps play first road game of 2016

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This is both teams' first true test of the season, and will be a great barometer for where the Terps stand against other powerhouse programs.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With the original Navy season opener postponed to inclement weather, Maryland men's lacrosse will get its first taste of dangerous competition at Yale this weekend in Reese Stadium. The Bulldogs downed the Terps at home during the regular season, but it was John Tillman's squad who had the last laugh, trumping Yale in the first round of last season's NCAA Tournament.

Maryland hosted High Point for its season opener, looking rusty despite the seemingly dominant 15-10 victory over an NCAA Tournament team.

"If we played like we did today [High Point] against Yale, we probably wouldn't have won," Tillman said.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs cruised past UMass-Lowell to the tune of 17-7 to capture their first win of the season as well. Moving up to No. 7 in the Inside Lacrosse rankings, Yale is a dangerous team with a vendetta for the Terps, a combo that doesn't make for a cakewalk win for Maryland.

HOW TO WATCH

Online: BTN2Go
Television: ESPN3

Key Matchups to Watch

Ben Reeves vs. Kyle Bernlohr:

Ben Reeves led all Elis (what they call Yale lacrosse players...beats me) in their season opener with four goals and three assists. Named the 2015 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Reeves punished opposing defenses with 25 goals and 18 assists while starting all 16 games. He'll be facing Bernlohr, Maryland's stud between the posts, who's viewed as one of the nation's best collegiate goalies. This high-caliber matchup will be exciting to watch, whether it be Reeves connecting with the back of the net or Bernlohr reflexing his way to some highlight saves.

The Midfields:

Both programs have excellent midfields that will be fun to watch wreak chaos. Maryland's Colin Heacock and Bryan Cole are each coming off hat trick outputs €”are crucial to the team's offensive capabilities as well as their leadership roles. Yale's midfield is more defensively oriented, with seniors Mark Glicini (30th overall pick in 2016 MLL Draft) and Reilly Naton combining for 23 caused turnovers and 58 ground balls.

Strengths

Defense

Yale boasted a top-10 defense by letting in just over 8 goals per game, and not much has changed with this stingy unit. Senior Michael Quinn is as elite a defender as any, going 8th overall in the 2016 MLL Draft. The team captain plays an aggressive style of defense, combining for a team leading 19 caused turnovers and 36 ground balls. Maryland's goal output per game against Yale was 6 and 10, uncharacteristically low for such a higher-powered attack. The Terps will need to get fancy to breack this lockdown unit.

Weaknesses

Goalkeeping

The Bulldogs said goodbye to their four-year starter in the cage, and replaced him with sophomore Phill Huffard. He has yet to show what he's made of, with his only start against UMass-Lowell being bolstered by Yale's elite defense. The Terps ripped 34 shots against the Bulldogs in Reese Stadium last year, so Huffard better learn the new job and fast.