Maryland women's lacrosse goalie Megan Taylor jokes that she isn't superstitious; she just likes routines. Before an eight-meter shot, she usually gets her feet moving and hits the pipe with her stick. But if she isn't able to follow her routine, she doesn't sweat it.
Taylor is calm and composed on the field, apparently not feeling any pressure from being the reigning National Goalkeeper of the Year. The junior said she isn't much for awards, instead focusing on one objective: "see the ball, stop the ball."
During her time at Maryland, Taylor has rarely failed to accomplish that, using an even-keeled mentality to establish herself as one of the best goalies in the country and be one of the leaders for the No. 1 Terps.
"She just comes in at a different level," coach Cathy Reese said. "She's the best goalie out there."
Last season, Taylor ranked third in the nation with a .535 save percentage. The All-American helped the Terps in their 2017 NCAA championship run with 10 saves against Penn State in the semifinals and 12 saves in the title game victory against Boston College.
Many goalies exclaim or slam their stick against the ground when a shot eludes them and hits the back of the net, but on the rare occasion an opponent beats the Glenelg native, she remains level-headed.
"I'm pretty calm if a goal goes in, because in my opinion teams are going to score on me," Taylor said. "I don't like to get rattled, and when I play rattled I don't think that's good. If you ever see me, I'm like, 'Oh, the goal went in, it's not the end of the world.' … I know my offense can score again."
In addition to thwarting opponents during games, shooting at Taylor in practice helps the Terps' goal-scorers, attacker Megan Whittle said. Maryland has lost just one game with Taylor in net.
"She stops all my shots and I'm like, 'Well, thank God she's on my team. Thank God she plays for Maryland,'" Whittle said. "The reason why myself and the rest of the attack is so good at shooting is because we play against the best every day."
Maryland had the highest-scoring offense in the country last season.
Taylor also serves as an anchor for the defense, which lost defensive cornerstone and Tewaaraton Award finalist Nadine Hadnagy to graduation.
"I love that she's back there as a confident leader on defense communicating to the people in front of her," Reese said. "To hear that she has your back is something that can help the rest of the team be a little more confident too."
Multiple Terps have said Taylor's positive energy is contagious for the whole team. Players and coaches can't help but smile when asked about her personality. Reese described her as caring and kind, saying she's "the cutest, sweetest person out there."
Taylor's warm-hearted, relaxed nature — as much as her on-field prowess — helps make her a dynamic leader of the preseason favorites to repeat as national champions.
"The team chemistry is coming together early in the season for us. And that's really big, you win a lot more games when you play for each other and when you love each other," Whittle said. "We have that right now and it starts with Meg on the defense."