The Maryland women’s lacrosse team is the most successful program in NCAA history, with 12 national titles. But last season, it came up short.

Looking for their third straight championship and first undefeated season since 2001, the top-ranked Terps couldn’t keep up with No. 3 North Carolina in a 13-7 defeat.

The two teams may meet on the sport’s biggest stage again this year, as the Tar Heels and Terps enter the season No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Coach Cathy Reese, however, is focused solely on this group, regardless of whom it plays down the road.

“It’s in the past, it’s done,” Reese said. “We’re not going to get anywhere if we look back and worry about that. We have a different team this year, it’s totally different every year and it’s something for all our returners to fuel their fire.”

Those returnees bring back a wealth of experience and accolades, as three players were All-Americans last season and six made the preseason list. Senior captains Nadine Hadnagy and Zoe Stukenberg as well as junior Megan Whittle secured All-American honors last season and made the preseason first team this year. Sophomore Julia Braig was named to the second team while senior Caroline Wannen and sophomore Megan Taylor earned honorable mention.

The Terps also boast Inside Lacrosse’s top-ranked freshman class, which includes three players ranked in the top five and seven in the top 50. Reese said some will make immediate contributions, and Stukenberg said the influence of the team’s experienced players will be key for the newcomers.

“We have a really awesome group of sophomores and juniors and seniors who are confident and excited and really believe in this group and our team,” Stukenberg said. “That’s all you can really ask for, and I think that confidence and passion will rub off on the freshmen sooner rather than later.”

The Terps return nine starters, but they’ll be without two of the nation’s best players the past few seasons. Taylor Cummings, the first-ever three time Tewaaraton Award winner — given annually to the nation’s best player — graduated. Maryland also lost 2016 National Defender of the Year and All-American Alice Mercer and starter Bryn Boucher.

“You are obviously going to feel the loss of people like Taylor and Alice because of who they were on the field and off the field,” Stukenberg said. “They were two of the best players I’ve ever had the opportunity to play with.”

Reese also acknowledged the loss of the trio of key graduates but remains confident in her team’s ability to move ahead and improve.

“We have a group that’s just really gelling well together right now, and that’s all as a coach we can ask for,” Reese said. “But this is a team that’s going to have to grow and continue to get better as the season progresses.”

The Terps will have to adjust to the new 90-second shot clock, which Reese said will make the game a little faster and perhaps more exciting. It will also limit teams’ abilities to slow down the game’s pace to rest or waste time.

“We’re a team that likes to push, to transition, that likes to look to go to goal,” Reese said. “It’s something we’re going to learn. We scrimmaged ourselves this weekend and we found out some things we never thought about with it.”

Maryland’s season begins Saturday at William & Mary. The Terps are projected to win the Big Ten, and begin conference play April 1 against Michigan.

Their marquee matchup comes Feb. 25 when they host North Carolina at Maryland Stadium. Reese emphasized focusing on William & Mary and Georgetown but said it’s important to play the best programs to test her team early on.

“We just want to be the best that we can be,” Reese said. “We graduated some great players last year, but our group that’s returning is hungry, they’re excited, they’re passionate, they’re enjoying this journey that we’re on, and I really think that this is going to be a fun season to watch our team play.”