The Terps put together one of their most complete games of the year Saturday against Navy. Could the defending national champs be peaking at just the right time? This week's blog will examine that question, alums coaching in this year's tourney and home cookin' at the complex.
No, that's not a typo. It may be Preakness weekend in Baltimore but in College Park, the top-seeded Terps are hoping they can continue to peak as the tournament field diminishes to eight.
From the first draw on Saturday, it was clear that a combination of the loss at Dartmouth and two full weeks of rest had been beyond beneficial for the battered Terps.
Here are some quotes from Maryland's post-game press conference referencing the Dartmouth loss and Maryland's well-deserved time off:
Head coach Cathy Reese:
"If you looked at our last game against Dartmouth, I believe we were 8-for-28 in our shooting and today we were 19-for-26. So that was one area we spent some time on and I believe it really paid off today. I'm really pleased with that part of our game.
"We've had some injuries - as everyone knows - these past few weeks and few games. It has really given us an opportunity to incorporate other people into our lineup. We've had to make some adjustments through the season. It is what it is. I think our players have really rebounded well and stepped up to the challenge."
Senior midfielder Laura Merrifield:
"It felt really good to get back out there. After two-week break, it was nice to get back going. We are really pleased with the result."
The numbers from Saturday's first round win are proof positive where this squad stands at this point in the season. The Terps began the match on a crushing 4-0 run and capped the game moving the ball down the field with ease despite utilizing an array of reserves. Maryland played 60 minutes of composed, unified lacrosse.
A huge reason the Terps won the national championship in 2010 was because they peaked at exactly the right time. Could this year's squad be doing the same thing? Time will only tell, but as with Animal Kingdom in this weekend's race at Pimlico, I like Maryland's odds.
THE COACHING TREE AND THE QUARTERFINALS
It is no secret that many Maryland alums are scattered at various coaching gigs all over the nation. But when you break down this year's NCAA quarterfinals, it is more evident than ever just how the branches of the Terps' coaching tree are positively impacting the game of women's lacrosse.
A former Maryland women's lacrosse player will be coaching in every quarterfinal match this weekend, beginning with Terrapin head coach Cathy Reese.
Kerstin Kimmel ('93) will guide fifth-seeded Duke into the swamp at Florida in search of the Blue Devils' sixth national semifinal appearance. Jen Adams ('01) has completely revamped Loyola's women's lacrosse program, guiding the Greyhounds to their first round-of-eight appearance since 2003. Loyola will battle North Carolina for a trip to Stony Brook. Lastly, Kelly Amonte Hiller ('96) has her Northwestern Wildcats fighting for another championship. NU welcomes upstart Albany to Evanston Saturday.
The Terps are seeking their 33rd straight home victory Saturday when they battle Princeton at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex.
Head coach Cathy Reese is a staggering 49-1 at home during her five-year tenure. Reese has never lost a game at home during the regular season. The Terps' only loss during her stint was against Duke in the NCAA quarterfinals May 17, 2008.
Saturday's match will be broadcast by WMUC Sports by clicking here. Fans can purchase advance tickets here. There are no graduations on campus Saturday so parking will not be an issue. However, if you feel like sticking around and enjoying a nice day in College Park, the Terrapin softball team is playing host to the NCAA Regionals a stone's throw from the complex. For more information on that tournament, click here.