It’s not often that two Top 10 Division I women’s lacrosse teams play each other for the first time, but the Atlantic Coast Conference shuffle brings No. 2 Maryland and No. 6 Notre Dame together for their inaugural meeting Saturday at noon.
In Maryland’s final season in the ACC and Notre Dame’s first, the two are on an upswing.
The Terps (8-0) are 2-0 in the ACC after Monday’s 12-10 win at No. 3 Syracuse. The Irish (6-2) are 1-2 in the ACC with losses to No. 1 North Carolina and No. 5 Boston College, but they have won four in a row, including a 9-8 upset of then-No. 4 Northwestern last week.
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While Syracuse is also in the ACC for the first time, the Terps already had the Orange on the schedule. It’s all new with Notre Dame.
“It’s a different experience as a coach,” Maryland coach Cathy Reese said, “because I haven’t watched them play a lot in the past. I don’t know a lot of their tendencies or anything about the history of the team because we’ve never prepared for them, so it’s been fun to watch them play. Obviously they’re very talented and have had a great season so far.”
With the addition of Syracuse and Notre Dame, the ACC now has six Top 10 teams, including No. 10 Duke. This year’s ACC tournament could be the toughest women’s lacrosse tournament ever.
“I don’t even think you can even quantify how tough it is,” Reese said. “The polls are crazy, too, with a lot of ups and downs. You add Syracuse and Notre Dame, coming in as two of the top teams, and then Boston College is having a great season too, so they’ve jumped up. Look at our schedule, and it makes every game tough. The moment you step out on the field, you know you’re going to be in for tough competition and it’s just extra special.”
The Terps are currently tied with defending national champion North Carolina in first place in the ACC at 2-0. The two meet in Chapel Hill on April 5 for a rematch of last year's NCAA triple-overtime title game.
Syracuse is second in the ACC at 2-1 with Boston College and Duke third at 1-1. Notre Dame is sixth.
Over the years, the Terps have played every other program currently ranked in the Top 10 of the Inside Lacrosse Brine media poll -- No. 4 Florida, No. 7 Northwestern, No. 8 Massachusetts and No. 10 Johns Hopkins, although none is on Maryland’s schedule this season.