The women’s lacrosse teams at Boston College and the University of Maryland are looking like contenders for the national championship.
A season ago, the Terps and the Eagles met in the national semifinals. Boston College advanced with a 15-13 victory, but fell in the title bout to James Madison.
So far this season, both squads are undefeated. Boston College is No. 1 in the Inside Lacrosse Poll released on March 10, and the Eagles have wins over four ranked opponents in Syracuse, Southern California, Navy and Northwestern. The Terps are second in the poll and have victories over four ranked opponents in Florida, North Carolina, Syracuse and Penn.
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With nine games remaining for the Eagles and 10 games remaining for the Terps, it’s time to start wondering if these teams can finish the regular season unblemished.
Here’s the toughest opponent remaining for each squad.
Boston College: at No. 3 North Carolina, March 23
The Tar Heels are 6-1 this season and their only defeat came against the Terps in Maryland in overtime. North Carolina gave Maryland all it could handle. The Tar Heels fell behind by five goals in the first half, but outscored the Terps 8-3 in the second half to push the game to overtime.
North Carolina began its season with a convincing 18-7 win over reigning champs James Madison, and the Tar Heels have also notched solid wins over Northwestern and Virginia.
The Tar Heels have the seventh-best scoring offense in the nation, scoring 16.33 goals per game. That attack is powered by Jamie Ortega, who is scoring 4.43 goals per game, tied for the fifth-best mark in the country.
North Carolina and Boston College split last season. The Eagles captured a 17-11 home win in the regular season, but the Tar Heels won 14-11 in Durham in the ACC title game.
Tayler Warehime from Katie Hoeg with 5:35 left is the winner as @uncwlax edges @UVAWomensLax 13-12 in a hard-fought battle. Taylor McDaniels 4g for UNC and Avery Shoemaker 4g for Virginia. pic.twitter.com/JwGqPpmGVz— USA Lacrosse Magazine (@USALacrosseMag) March 9, 2019
Maryland: vs. No. 11 Michigan, April 6
The Terps could trip up before this meeting of the Big Ten powers. On March 24, they have to go to Harrisonburg, Va., to face the reigning champs in James Madison.
But if Maryland can escape that game unscathed, the Wolverines will still be in the Terps' way. Michigan is undefeated this season too, and has notched wins over ranked opponents in Dartmouth, Colorado, Denver and Towson.
The Wolverines have the ninth-best defense in the nation, allowing just 7.44 goals per game. They have three players who have forced double-digit turnovers, two players who have more than 24 draw control wins, and goalkeeper Mira Shane has a 52.6 save percentage.
Michigan’s offense is powered by Lilly Grass and Adriana Pendino, who have combined for 45 goals and 10 assists this season.
Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is now based in Durham, N.C.