February 6, 2014

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#LMRanks: No. 2 Maryland Terrapins (WD1)

by Justin Feil | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Can the Terrapins rebound from last spring's finals and vault back to the top of NCAA Women's DI?

Previous: No. 3 Syracuse Orange

Vitals

2013 Record: 22-1 (5-0 ACC)
Coach: Cathy Reese (8th year)
Record at Maryland: 139-16

Power Ratings

Offense: 5
Defense: 4
Goalkeeping: 3
Draw Control: 5

Top Returner

M Taylor Cummings (So.)
Cummings was ACC Rookie of the Year and an All-America pick in her freshman year. The all-around standout is expected to be better in her encore even after posting 57 points, 94 draw controls, 28 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers. "She's focused and driven," Reese said. "She's determined to help the team any way she can. We'll be looking to her a lot this year."

X-Factor

M Kelly McPartland (Jr.)
The U.S. teamer has been a steady star, but Maryland needs that star to shine even brighter. Her 31 ground balls top all returning Terps, and she posted 45 points a year ago in the shadows of Alex Aust and Katie Schwarzmann. "I think she needs to step up and be even bigger," Reese said. "She's done fine. When you play alongside these All-American players, you don't have to step up. We're going to look to her to step out and take charge."

Tournament Trend

2009 - Semifinals
2010 -
NCAA Champions
2011 -
NCAA Final
2012 -
Semifinals
2013 -
NCAA Final

What's New?

The additions of Syracuse and Notre Dame makes the ACC tougher. The five-time defending champion Terrapins play their new conference foes back-to-back in a five-day span, and the ACC tournament won't have a bye this year. Maryland doesn't have to get used to it. Next year they jump to the Big Ten.

Telling Number

1
Senior starter returning. Midfielder Beth Glaros is the only senior who started a game last year. Jen Mendez, a senior who is fighting for a starting spot on defense, has 11 career starts.

Enemy Lines

Opposing Coaches on the Terrapins

"Returning a roster full of talent with championship game experience. Terps will be hungry for revenge in 2014 season."

"Loss of top attackers, but have depth with Taylor Cummings and a full defensive unit. Zoe Stukenberg and Morgan Torggler should be immediate impact players for the Terps."

"Always in the top five. They have such a great system and their staff recruits so well, it's intimidating to everyone else. Taylor Cummings is poised for a monster year if she stays healthy. Cathy Reese is a class act."

"Maryland will be out for redemption this season. Highly skilled, seasoned and disciplined. Losing top players like Aust and Schwarzmann will not be a defining factor for the Terps."

"With the absence of Katie Schwartzmann and GK Kasey Howard, other key returners will have some weight on their shoulders."

"Thought for sure they would win it all last year, and the sting of that final loss will be extra motivation for them in 2014. Perennial title contenders. Always bringing in quality players who can fill graduation voids."

"So many offensive returning threats. We should see them in the championship game again this spring."

"More talent than any other program. The question is: can the talent work together to win the big one?"

"Definitely young, but always seem to reload. May have some early season bumps, but have the potential to make a run late if Cummings and Griffin get more support."

"Athletic, deep, fast and strong. Always a contender."

"They're super athletic and really fast. I'm interested to see how the young ones fill the huge shoes of the recently graduated seniors. They have some really strong young talent; the question will be if they can handle the pressure with their youth."

"Maryland just reloads. The only question mark they have is goalie, but only in that I don't know who it will be."

"They lost some significant starters but it's Maryland -- they always get some of the best recruits in the country and there's always girls ready to step up. It seems like every year a new star emerges from Maryland, so it's just a matter of who that will be. They are primarily strong and there's no doubt they will be competing at a high level."

2013 Recap

In a Nutshell: Maryland could not have come any closer to an 11th NCAA title. Their triple overtime loss was the only blemish on an otherwise incredible 22-1 season. "It's tough to go out that way," Reese said, "but I was proud of the success we had throughout the year and proud of the group we had." Maryland won its fifth straight ACC crown. They didn't play a game closer than three goals until March 26. They didn't trail in the second half of a game until they rallied against Syracuse in the national semifinal to reach their 17th national title game.

High Point: Maryland jumped out early and cruised to a 12-8 win over North Carolina for its fifth straight and 10th ACC championship. The offense was in tune and balanced with a championship record four assists from MVP Katie Schwarzmann and hat tricks from Brooke Griffin, Beth Glaros and Taylor Cummings. The defense had its best game with a season-high 29 ground balls to help Maryland push out to a 12-4 edge behind a second-half onslaught.

Low Point: For the second time in three years, Maryland lost in the NCAA championship game by a goal. This time, the heartbreaking loss came in the third overtime against a North Carolina team that they'd already beaten twice. "We didn't play our best lacrosse in the first half," Reese said. "In the second half, we stepped up and did a little better." Alex Aust forced overtime with less than four minutes left, and despite three big Kasey Howard saves in overtime, the Terrapins couldn't top UNC.

2014 Preview

Best Case: Buoyed by the emergence of Griffin, Cummings and McPartland, there is tangible growth in the Terrapins throughout the season. The overlooked defense does its part, and Maryland shows there's plenty of firepower back as they build on their strong chemistry and finish the season playing at their best. They exit the ACC with a sixth straight title, and put together a three-game run to reach the national title game, where this senior class plays bridesmaid no more by claiming its first national crown in three trips.

Worst Case: Maryland finds out another title is still a year away. The leadership the Terrapins need never materializes fully this season, and neither does either goalie, and when adversity hits there's no way for Maryland to make up for the loss of too much big game and big moment experience from last year's team. The improved ACC wears them down and they can't recover fast enough to return to the national final.

Self-Examination— Cathy Reese on..

Brooke Griffin: "Brooke is a leader for us on the offensive end. She'll control our offense. She has amazing game sense. She has the ability to understand what's going on on the field. She's very motivated and very determined. She's a hard worker. She's someone we'll look to on the offensive end. We need her to take control on the offensive end and run that for us."

Beth Glaros: "Beth's our lone senior returning starter. She has great speed. She's huge in the transition game. She's fun to watch. I don't think she understands yet how good she is. She'll control the tempo of the game."

Alice Mercer: "Alice has one year under her belt. She's such a tremendous athlete. She works very hard. She has great speed and vision on the defensive end. She's someone that can start our offense for us. She's a great communicator down there. She's a great anchor to help control the defense."


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