At this time last season, Maryland women’s lacrosse was undefeated, had already clinched the Big Ten regular season title and was ranked No. 1 in the nation.

This year, the Terps have a loss, the No. 3 ranking and will play for the conference crown going in to the final game of the regular season. Both Maryland and No. 7 Northwestern enter their Thursday showdown in College Park undefeated in Big Ten play, meaning the winner will raise the conference trophy after the game.

Maryland has not lost a Big Ten regular season game since joining the conference, winning the regular season title every year.

“It’s a great reputation to have,” defender Lizzie Colson said. “It keeps it interesting when you’re getting the chance to compete for these Big Ten titles and you’re in these tournaments and things like that.”

[Read more: Grace Griffin is this year’s star freshman for Maryland lacrosse]

Northwestern, who finished in third place last season, enters the championship game on an eight-game win streak. Maryland is 6-0 against the Wildcats since joining the conference. But it’s never faced a Northwestern team this strong.

The Wildcats are 13-3, their best record since 2013, on the strength of an offense led by attackers Selena Lasota and Shelby Fredericks and midfielder Sheila Nesselbush.

[Read more: “We’re used to putting up 20”: Maryland women’s lacrosse was slowed by Penn State]

Lasota has 45 goals this season, and Nesselbush has 41. In addition to her scoring, Fredericks ranks second in the country in draw controls per game, making her a dangerous threat to an area where Maryland has been highly successful this year.

“They’re putting up a lot of points and they’re dangerous, so we need to be able to defend that,” coach Cathy Reese said. “And offensively, we need to be able to shoot around a goalie that’s pretty hot right now. She’s having a great season and we need to make sure that we’re generating our offensive looks to create good opportunities.”

Maryland was in a similar situation in 2015, when it entered the final game of the regular season tied with Penn State atop the standings. The Terps beat the Nittany Lions, 13-10, to secure the title.

The team enjoys the high-stakes natures of games like those.

“We’re playing for something, which is really exciting,” attacker Megan Whittle said. “I live for these big games and these big moments and it’s even more fun when you’re playing for something … it’s easy to get hyped up for a game like this.”

But even though it hopes to win another conference championship, the team also knows there are more trophies down the line.

“Playing super well this game, and coming out really strong will give us momentum going into the [conference] tournament,” attacker Brindi Griffin said.