The defending national champion Maryland women's lacrosse team will enter the season as the top team in the Big Ten. The Terps were unanimously selected as the preseason favorites to win the conference title, the Big Ten announced Monday.
Along with the team honor, attacker Megan Whittle, midfielder Jen Giles and goaltender Megan Taylor were named as Big Ten Players to Watch.
The Terps finished last season undefeated at 23-0 and topped Boston College, 16-13, in the national championship game. Along the way, they beat then-No. 1 North Carolina, No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Syracuse and No. 5 Penn State in the regular season.
Whittle led the team with 71 goals and added a career-high 16 assists and has been the team's leading scorer in each of her three seasons. She broke the 200-goal threshold last year and is 53 goals behind attacker Jen Adams for the program record.
Despite injuring her hamstring in Maryland's final regular season game, Giles came back for the postseason and posted four goals and four assists in a 20-10 win over Penn State in the national semifinal. She finished the season with 41 goals and 32 assists.
Both Whittle and Giles were named captains for this season.
Taylor was recognized as the nation's best goalkeeper by the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association after placing third in the country in both save percentage and total saves. Her 12 saves in the national championship helped preserve Maryland's title, while she set a career-high with 20 saves against Florida.
The Terps begin their title defense against William & Mary on Feb. 11.