When Maryland women’s lacrosse played Syracuse last season in New York, the Terps couldn’t stop the Orange from scoring. Eight different Syracuse players found the net in a 20-goal barrage that was the most goals the Terps allowed in a single game throughout the 2023 season.

Syracuse attacker Meaghan Tyrrell scored six to lead all scorers in Maryland’s 20-11 loss. Tyrrell graduated, but more players are now in line to potentially give the Terps’ defense problems when the two teams meet again at the JMA Wireless Dome on Saturday.

Maryland’s defense gave up just 17 shots and three goals to Saint Joseph’s in its first game of the season. The Terps caused 18 turnovers in the stifling display. Maryland coach Cathy Reese was impressed with how well her experienced defenders gelled with newcomers after the win.

She will need that same cohesion from the unit for the Terps to beat Syracuse’s “dynamic offense” for the first time since 2019, the last time Maryland was crowned national champions.

[Eloise, Maisy Clevenger proved pivotal in Maryland women’s lacrosse’s season-opening win]

The Orange notched 15 goals in their season-opening loss to Northwestern. Six Syracuse players scored against a Wildcats defense that ranked ninth in scoring defense last year. Junior Olivia Adamson led Syracuse with six goals.

All but three goalscorers who scored against Maryland last year are back for Syracuse. Maddy Baxter netted a pair and Emma Tyrrell contributed to the Orange’s loss to Northwestern. Both scored against the Terps in 2023.

“They’re just strong all over,” Reese said. “Without even Megan Carney and Meaghan Tyrrell, their team is still super dangerous, as they were last year.”

Defenders Brianna Lamoureux, Aiden Peduzzi and Kennedy Major return to the Maryland group that ranked in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense last year. Transfers Meghan Ball and Sophie Halus have joined that group, which Inside Lacrosse ranked fifth in the country entering the season.

Lamoureux, Peduzzi and Major were part of last season’s nine-goal loss. They know this year’s contest won’t be any easier.

“They’re a team that capitalizes on your mistakes,” graduate student and midfielder Shaylan Ahearn said. “They’re not someone that I would say, necessarily, is the fastest team, but they’re very smart. Their lacrosse IQ is better than most teams that we play against.”

[No. 9 Maryland women’s lacrosse opens 2024 with dominant 16-3 win over Saint Joseph’s]

The Terps must be sound at communicating with and trusting each other to combat Syracuse’s potent attack, Lamoureux said.

Their strategy is to collectively stop all seven players on Syracuse’s offense through Maryland’s eight in defense. It won’t be about stopping the one-on-one matchups, but rather taking away space to limit easy shots for Syracuse’s attack.

“It’s just being disciplined,” Reese said. “Make sure we’re working our way through every single offensive possession that Syracuse has to put our best foot forward. [If] we’re going to give up something, let’s give up the shots we know Emily [Sterling] can save.”