File photo by Paige Leckie/The Left Bench

No. 11 Maryland field hockey takes on Towson and No. 9 Louisville

The Maryland Terrapins’ field hockey team will look to improve its 1-2 record this weekend in the Terrapin Invitational in College Park.

After losing both games in the Big 10-ACC Cup last weekend, the Terps will take on the Towson Tigers (0-4) on Friday, and the Louisville Cardinals (3-1) on Sunday. In both matches the team will look to get an early lead in the first half, something Maryland has struggled with so far this season.

All three of the Terps’ goals have come in the second half, while two of the Tigers’ three goals and three of the Cardinals’ 13 goals have come in the second half. In order for Maryland to be successful this weekend it needs to score early and maintain a lead.

Towson’s offense is young, led by four freshmen: Valerie Hajek, Beira Ho, Kendra Sykes and Peppe Haantjes. Maryland’s offense shows more depth, with junior forward Sabrina Rhodes and sophomore defender Bodil Keus leading the team and seven additional players contributing with at least two shots.

Louisville’s offense is led by seniors Marigrace Ragsdale and Nicole Woods, as well as sophomore Minout Mink and freshman Marisa Martin Pelegrina.

The Terps should have little trouble against Towson, especially if Maryland scores first and early. Maryland’s defense has remained strong, allowing only five goals in three games compared to Towson’s 16 goals against in four games.

“We’re rotating six or seven first-year players,” head coach Missy Meharg said after the Terps’ loss to the Eagles last Sunday. “For us it’s about getting these touches and these minutes and these halves.”

The Terps’ first-year players include freshmen defenders Sophie Giezeman and Hannah Bond, and freshmen midfielders Brooke DeBerdine and Kyler Greenwalt. Rhodes and Wilken, both transfers, are also in their first year as Terrapins.

Louisville will pose a challenge to Maryland, testing the Terps both offensively and defensively. To win, the Terps must come out strong and control the game at all positions. Junior goalkeeper Sarah Holliday has had a solid start to the season, with only five goals against and 17 saves.

“It’ll be nice to have an opportunity to compete with Towson and then Louisville,” Meharg said.

Maryland will take on Towson on Friday at 1 p.m. and Louisville on Sunday at 11:30 p.m. at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park.