The Maryland women's lacrosse team has faced potent attackers this season. Over their 20 games, the Terps have squared off against five of the nation's top-10 scorers.
Saturday, the Terps will host a player who has registered more points this campaign than any player in NCAA history in a single season.
Stony Brook's record-setting attacker Kylie Ohlmiller and the No. 8-seed Seawolves (20-1) will face the No. 1-seed Terps in the NCAA quarterfinals. The visitors boast the nation's third-best scoring offense, but coach Cathy Reese said the Terps will be prepared.
"The girls have played against so many different offenses, great offensive players and good midfielders and defenses," Reese said. "We're ready."
Ohlmiller is third in the country with 75 goals, but her distribution sets her apart as she has accumulated an NCAA-best 82 assists. Towson attacker Samantha Brookhart is second with 55.
The Terps (20-0) had success against several of the top attackers they faced this season thanks to a defense spearheaded by Tewaaraton Award nominee Nadine Hadnagy. The senior captain held High Point's top scorer, attacker Samantha Brown, scoreless in the second round last Sunday and has nullified several of the country's most influential offensive players.
Reese called Hadnagy a "stud" and the leader of the Terps defense. Everything starts with Hadnagy's leadership, but all defenders performing is "really crucial" for the Terps going up against Ohlmiller and the Seawolves' attack, she added.
"It's not one person's job to shut [Ohlmiller] down," Reese said. "It's our team's job to limit the opportunities and the chances that we give them."
Hadnagy echoed her coach, stressing team defense as the key to preventing the dynamic Seawolves attack. She's often cited the concept of "Maryland defense," where the players communicate and help each other.
Besides Ohlmiller, the Seawolves have two other players over 50 goals this season. That includes Kylie's sister, Taryn, a freshman who has notched 62 goals and 36 assists.
"[Kylie Ohlmiller] is a great player," Hadnagy said. "She has an awesome six other players around her. We just have to play team defense and help each other out. She's going to go hard. We're going to be ready for it though."
The Terps' defense wants to force bad angles on shots and provide goalkeeper Megan Taylor with easier save opportunities, Hadnagy said. The rest is up to pressuring the attacker and maintaining the team defense concept.
"I've got all the confidence in the world in my defense," attacker Megan Whittle said. "They are the best defense in the nation and we go up against each other every day in practice and make each other a lot better. I'm excited to see them do well."
Whittle said the Terps know the stakes of the contest Saturday with a chance to make their ninth straight appearance in the national semifinals. They want to play on the biggest stage in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Memorial Day weekend, but they aren't changing their tactics despite Stony Brook's potent offense.
"We're just pumped because this is the game to make it to the final four," Hadnagy said. "Everyone is obviously excited to put their best foot forward."