For the third weekend in a row, Maryland softball travels to play in a tournament hosted by a ranked team.
After facing then-No. 5 UCLA in their first tournament and then-No. 13 Auburn twice last weekend, Maryland will play undefeated No. 2 Florida twice in Gainesville this weekend.
The Terps have fond memories of the Gators — in February 2017, they picked up their first victory of the season with a 4-2 comeback win over the top-ranked Gators. It was the first loss of the season for a Florida team that dropped only 10 games on its way to the College World Series and represented the biggest win of coach Julie Wright's three-year tenure.
Maryland hopes an altered offensive approach will lead to similar success during this season's trip to Florida.
"I think we did a lot of learning as hitters," Wright said. "When you have the lack of offensive production that we had over the weekend in certain games, you realize, 'OK, I've got to make a change here.'"
The Terps have been held to two runs or fewer in six of their first nine games.
After committing nine errors in their season-opening five-game tournament in Los Angeles, the Terps improved on defense in Auburn, with only three errors in four games. However, they struggled offensively, failing to score in either of their two Sunday losses last weekend.
Wright said the Terps focused this week on taking shorter, more compact swings, hoping to produce more line drives and hard grounders instead of fly balls and pop-ups.
In last season's upset over the Gators, Maryland used 11 hits to score four runs for just the second time to that point.
It was Maryland's first of three victories over ranked opponents last season, as the squad also earned wins against then-No. 24 Missouri and then-No. 18 Michigan.
Wright credited the Terps' upsets to the fact that they "do not care who [they] are playing."
"I'm hoping that we bring energy and focus and that they play consistently," Wright said. "If they do those sorts of things we'll have the ability in every game to be in a position to win."
Maryland has started the season without captain Destiney Henderson, who was a regular presence in the team's outfield last season. Her absence has increased the Terps' reliance on its nine new players, six of whom are freshmen.
Henderson has yet to play this season as she returns from a lower-body injury. The senior led the team in stolen bases last season and was fifth on the team with a .336 on-base percentage.
The Fontana, California, native's rehab is on schedule, Wright said. Henderson began hitting off a pitching machine this week but has not yet begun running in practice.
Despite their 2-7 record that includes two run-rule losses, Wright is pleased with how the Terps — many of whom are new to the team — are meshing against their tough schedule.
"Playing together on the field was the big piece," Wright said. "They're still trying to learn each other, but they have really good chemistry."