Preview: Terps Head to New Jersey for Top 10 Clash

#9 Maryland (2-1) @ #3 Princeton (2-0)

When: Saturday February 25th, 1pm

Where: Princeton, NJ


Maryland will head to New Jersey to take on third ranked Princeton. Princeton will play their third game in eight days, which could bode well for the Terps. Princeton won their first two games over Monmouth and Manhattan by a total score of 36-18. This game will be a rematch of the two games that this matchup produced last season. Maryland came out on top in both games over the Tigers by five goals, first in the regular season, and the second game on Memorial Day weekend in the semifinal game.

The Tigers are coming off two wins, but only one was in truly convincing style. Against Monmouth, the Tigers were the dominant team from the start. But against Manhattan, the Jaspers took it to the tigers for three quarters before the Tigers depth started to show and they pulled away. The Tigers are a team that are fine with playing either a slow grind it out game, or a fast paced non-stop kind of game. They are one of the toughest teams on the Terps schedule this season and can easily get back to Memorial Day weekend this season.

On offense, the Tigers are led by midfielder Alexander Vardaro and attackman Coulter Mackesy. Vardaro leads the Tigers in goals and points so far this season with nine goals and 11 points. Coulter is second in goals for the Tigers with seven. Look for the Terps to have long stick midfielder John Geppert on Vardaro for most of the game with him being the biggest threat from the Tiger midfield to try and slow his production down. Princeton loves to move the ball a lot and is great at making the extra pass and moving off the ball. If the Terps want to win, they will need to win their one on one matchups so no one can break free and cause a slide and they will need to stick to their man off the ball to stop any open cutters.

On defense, Princeton is led by Beau Pederson and Pace Billings. Both are midfielders for the Tigers but they are the leaders of the defense and are very good at winning their matchups and causing havoc. Pederson and Billings were named preseason Honorable Mention All-Americans by USA Lacrosse Magazine and for good reason. Pederson does not always show up on the stat sheet but he is a physical short stick defensive midfielder that will just try and wear you down all game and will slow down your top midfielder. Billings leads the team with three caused turnovers and has picked up two ground balls as well. The Tigers are a very physical defense and will look to wear the Terps offensive attack down till the very end. If the Terps want to win they will need to move the ball a lot and constantly move around to try and confuse the Tiger defense.

For the Terps, while it was not a great showing, Teddy Dolan showed he can step up and take over as the starting goalie in their win over Syracuse. The Terps defense was solid most of the game but had some bounces go against them that led to giving up over ten goals. On offense, the Terps need to keep feeding the hot hand which is attackman Daniel Kelly right now. Kelly leads the team in goals with nine, three more then anyone else. A key guy for the Terps this weekend will be Kyle Long. Long is a quick twitchy midfielder that has great vision. Look for Long to get some isolation chances to see if he can beat his man and set someone up off of a slide.

The Terps will look to keep improving and beat a top three team showing the country they are still a team to not be messed with. This four game stretch for the Terps is crucial if they want to play a home game in the NCAA tournament with them facing the current top three teams in the country in the next four weeks.

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