The defending national champion Maryland Terrapins will face their stiffest competition of the 2015 season on Saturday, February 21st, 2015. The Tar Heels will make the trip to College Park looking to continue their recent success against the Terps. The Tar Heels were the only team to beat the Terps in each of the last two season. Last year the Heels handled the Terps in Chapel Hill and the year prior the Heels beat Maryland to win the national championship.
The 2015 matchup will be a fun one to watch. This Tar Heel team is extremely balanced with 13 Heels already scoring a goal. As I have mentioned many times, the Tar Heel attack could be one of the best in the history of the program. Newcomers Alex Moore, Ela Hazer and Marie McCool just add to the offense that includes Molly Hendrick, Brittney Coppa, Aly Messinger, Sammy Jo Tracy, Kelly Devlin and Maggie Bill.
Although this is a very talented Tar Heel offense it won’t matter if they cannot gain possession against one of the best draw players of all time. Taylor Cummings is, by far and away, the player you would want to take a draw under any circumstance. In the 2014 national championship game, Cummings basically won the game herself by taking draw after draw from Syracuse. She is very skilled at not only taking the draw but winning it herself.
The Tar Heels will counter with Molly Hendrick and Brittney Coppa in the center circle. When the Heels gain possession they must focus on crisp passing. During the 2013 ACC Championship game the Terps caused several turnovers leading to easy goals. This was the last game in which the Terps beat the Heels. With one of the best defenses in the country, the Heels will get plenty of stops by Caylee Waters and Megan Ward. After stopping the Terps the Heels cannot assume they can just go on attack.
The Terps are very good at causing turnovers with the opponent trying to clear out of their zone. Maggie Bill, Marie McCool, Molly Hendrick and Brittney Coppa have had an easy go of it converting from defense to offense in the first few games of the season but this will not continue versus Maryland on Saturday. Look for the Terps to attack the ball rather than just letting the Tar Heels set up their offense.
If you want to know who will win this huge matchup on Saturday just look at the turnover and clear stats. That will tell you all you need to know. Let’s hope it is a memorable game and by memorable that means the Tar Heels winning easily.