WLAX : SU preps for matchup with No. 1 Maryland

first_img Comments The Syracuse women’s lacrosse team has never beaten a team ranked No. 1 in the country. In 13 tries, it has come up short each time. This weekend, its matchup with No. 1 Maryland on Saturday at noon marks the 14th try.It won’t be an easy task: Maryland is the current defending champion and has lost just two games the two seasons prior to this one.‘Obviously they’re clicking on all cylinders right now – coming off a win holding their opponent to two goals,’ SU head coach Gary Gait said. ‘We’re going to have to play an exceptional game. We’re doing our homework, we’re preparing, and hopefully we’ll execute.’Now undefeated at 6-0, the Terrapins enter Saturday’s contest coming off of a 19-point victory over George Mason in which 11 different players scored. Syracuse is coming off back-to-back losses against then-No. 13 Stanford and then-No. 7 Virginia – two games in which the Orange was outscored 32-21. SU lost just three home games all of last season, and hasn’t given up that many points in consecutive games since 2000.The Orange will be the fourth nationally ranked program Maryland has faced this year.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘We’re just trying to get our games together,’ senior defender Catherine Rodriguez said.Those last two ugly losses all the way back in 2000 —16-12 and 24-11, respectively — also came against nationally ranked opponents, in Georgetown and Maryland. Maryland’s 2000 team went on to win its sixth national championship in a string of seven straight.Syracuse’s 2000 team earned its first-ever NCAA tournament birth. Since Maryland’s championship run, Syracuse has improved from a 10-6 team in 2002 to a 14-5 team in 2009, and the Terrapins have won the big game just once.But that one time was last season, and, in part, was built off of a 14-5 semifinal victory over Syracuse.‘They are a very strong transition team, we saw that when they beat us in the final four,’ Rodriguez said. ‘So we’re just trying to focus on matching up so we can play a little more settled as opposed to the quick run and gun off the draw.’These two schools have met in postseason play in each of the past two seasons. Although Christina Dove and Halley Quillinan, the first- and third-leading goal scorers in program history, have since graduated, there are 10 sophomores that are now a year older from last year. If this year’s team is going to settle down and compete with the elite, it cannot get ahead of itself.That is a concept in which newcomer Alyssa Murray is already aware.‘Move on to the next game,’ the freshman attack Murray said. ‘It’s important to not get hung up on how it goes each game and carrying it over. I just want to focus on one game and then move on to the next.’This one game won’t be easy against the top-ranked Terrapins. On the season, Maryland has scored 105 goals and its opponents have attempted 114 shots.For a Syracuse team still looking to improve, and still looking to exhibit a top-tier level of play, this weekend’s test with No. 1 should be a healthy experience.‘We’ve watched as much film on what they’re currently doing and we’ve tried to come up with a game plan,’ Gait said. ‘The last thing is to try to execute it. We’ve had time to do all of the above, and now it’s just time to give our players the chance to jump on the field and play.’[email protected] Published on March 9, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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