The Maryland lacrosse team has been one of the most dangerous groups over the last month.
Now the Terrapins will look to repeat as Big Ten Tournament champions when play begins on Thursday.
Maryland has won six of their last seven games and is coming a dominating performance over rival Johns Hopkins. The Terps rattled off nine first half goals and rolled past the Blue Jays by a 12-5 decision.
Star attackman Matt Rambo continued to dominate the Big Ten as he recorded three goals and four assists. Rambo also became Maryland’s all-time leader in points in the Saturday evening contest.
Maryland outshot Johns Hopkins 37-28 despite losing 12 of the 18 total face-offs. Three players had at least three goals with attackman Colin Heacock (three goals & one assist), midfielder Connor Kelly (four goals), and Rambo finding the back of the cage.
Now the Terps will face Penn State in a rematch of the April 8 contest. Maryland got the win in a 15-11 fashion when the Nittany Lions were the number-one team in the country.
Penn State is coming off back-to-back wins over Michigan and Rutgers. The Nittany Lions possess one of the most prolific offenses in the country and could pose a significant challenge to the Terps once again.
Storylines to watch against Penn State
- Which offense will shine? – Maryland and Penn State are two of the most lethal offensive attacks in the nation. The Nittany Lions average 14.2 goals-per-game (fifth in the country) and the Terps are putting up 13.1 goals per contest (ninth in the nation). Mac O’Keefe is one of the most dynamic goal scorers in the country and will test Maryland in every way possible. O’Keefe has pinpoint accuracy and can score from just about anywhere on the field with limited space. Attackmen Grant Ament and Nick Aponte also are versatile as both table-setters and goal scorers. However, the Terps are just as lethal with Heacock, Kelly, Dylan Maltz, and Rambo all scoring at least 18 goals this season. This is a balanced scoring attack with a ton of depth. It’s going to come down to which defense can step up and make a few stops to give their team the momentum.
- Can Penn State slow down Matt Rambo at all? – It goes without saying that Rambo has been one of the hottest players in the lacrosse world. The senior attackman has accumulated 12 points over the past two games. Rambo is a master at taking advantage of what the defense is giving him. If the opposing team slides to him, he’s more than happy to deliver a pinpoint pass to an open teammate. Rambo also excels because of his incredible strength. He often plays through contact and is able to get right to the spot and bury his shot. Penn State could be in for a long afternoon if they’re not careful with how they defend the talented Terp.
- Battle at the “X” – The face-off department may be one of the few weaknesses for Maryland. The Terps are 38th in the country in face-off winning percentage (.497) while the Nittany Lions excel in that area. Penn State has the eighth-best face-off percentage at .595 and Gerard Arceri is one of the best around. Arceri has a .625 winning percent at the “X,” which is the sixth-best clip in the country. If Maryland keeps losing face-offs, it could be very difficult to hang around against a lethal offense like Penn State’s.