For the third straight weekend, Maryland softball faces an overall mediocre tournament field. But the Hawaii tournament also features No. 4 Tennessee, a 26-1 team with no apparent weakness.

So in their final games before conference play begins, the Terps have a chance to earn much-needed wins and be tested against one of the nation’s top teams.

Though Maryland’s offense has struggled recently, the team believes it’s building toward success and can compete with the competition this weekend.

“We’re almost there — we’re like a hit away,” infielder Brigette Nordberg said. “I’m not worried about our offense.”

[Read more: Maryland softball’s Hawaii tournament is a homecoming for infielder Skylynne Ellazar]

Maryland has scored five or more runs just three times this season, and scored only seven runs total at last weekend’s Maryland Invitational. On the other side, Tennessee boasts a 1.43 ERA, ranking No. 16 in the country.

“We have to keep getting good pitches ” catcher Anna Kufta said. “We need to stay focused in our at-bats, and attack the good pitches.”

Maryland hasn’t been competitive in its five games against ranked teams this season, being run-ruled three times and losing decisively in the other two games.

Other than Tennessee, the Terps will face hittable pitching during their time in Hawaii. Both Cleveland State and North Dakota have allowed more than three runs a game, and even Hawaii’s relatively consistent pitching staff has had some lapses.

Plus, Maryland’s lineup may receive a boost this weekend, as outfielder Destiney Henderson could return as a pinch-hitter, coach Julie Wright said. Henderson, a senior captain, hit .255 with an on-base percentage of .336 last season, marks that are better than all but two Terps players so far this season.

In the circle, Maryland will continue relying on Ryan Denhart and Sydney Golden, who have both impressed in recent weeks.

[Read more: Maryland softball’s offense hasn’t given its revamped pitching staff much support]

“I’ve been relying on my defense and trying not to put all the pressure on me,” Denhart said. “Relying on them and knowing they have my back makes it an easier game for me.”

While that strategy has paid off at times, allowing Denhart to pitch efficiently and keep her pitch counts down, it also occasionally backfires. Defensive miscues have led to 14 unearned runs during her appearances.

Both Denhart and Golden have shouldered a heavy workload over the past few weeks. They’ve recorded every out of the team’s past 13 games.

That workload can partially be attributed to the struggles of pitchers Sami Main and Lauren Graves, who have combined for 17 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings.

The coaching staff has been working to keep the pitchers fresh, tailoring practices and bullpens to have them in peak condition for games.

In addition to the practices, Denhart credits pitching coach Tori Tyson with helping aid her mentality.

“She’s helped me grow a lot out of the freshman mindset,” Denhart said, “she’s helped me get more mature even though I am still a freshman.”