Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics
The No. 1 Maryland Terrapins (16-0) travel to Illinois to face No. 15 Northwestern (9-7) in their final regular season game this Thursday at 8 p.m. looking to clinch the Big Ten regular season title outright.
The Terrapins kept their undefeated season alive last week with their biggest road victory of the season, holding on for a 16-14 win at Penn State.
Kali Hartshorn continued her offensive hot streak, scoring four more goals against the Nittany Lions. She now has 19 goals in her last four games.
Her performance earned her Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the fifth time this season and Inside Lacrosse’s National Rookie of the Week.
Senior Zoe Stukenberg also grabbed hardware for the Terps, earning the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in a row.
Northwestern will be the Terps’ ninth ranked opponent on the season.
Northwestern is coming off of 2 straight victories, including a 12-10 win against No. 20 Duke.
However, the Wildcats have not had much success against ranked opponents. Their win against Duke gave them only their second victory against a ranked opponent in eight tries.
To knock off their third ranked opponent of the year, the Wildcats will look to their leading scorer, Christina Esposito, who has scored 39 goals and accumulated 49 points this season.
The Wildcats offense has been average throughout the whole season. They rank 74th in the nation scoring 10.88 goals per game, a number that they will have to exceed if they want to keep up with Maryland’s second ranked offense.
Northwestern has not exceeded 15 goals in their last eight games, while the Terps haven’t scored less than 16 goals in their previous eight contests. Northwestern has only scored more than 16 goals twice this season.
Northwestern goalie Mallory Weisse ranks in the top 50 in the country with a .450 save percentage on the season and will look to tame the Maryland offense. No matter who the goalkeeper has been, the high powered Terps offense has continuously found the back of the net with no problem.
Maryland is 12-6 all time against the Wildcats, including two victories over them last year. This will be their first meeting since the Big Ten Tournament final last year, where the Terps won 12-9.
If the Terps do prevail, this will be the third season in a row and 10th time overall that the Terps have finished with an undefeated record in the regular season.
The game will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.
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