The No. 9 Maryland Terrapins (13-6) field hockey team will begin its quest for the program’s ninth national title as they take on No. 12 Wake Forest (12-7) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Durham, North Carolina.
The NCAA tournament bid is Maryland’s 23rd straight, the longest standing streak in the country. It marks Missy Meharg’s 27th appearance as the head coach of the Terps.
The Terps are coming off a 3-2 loss in the Big Ten tournament semi-final against Penn State, a game where they came back to tie it twice before conceding a late goal to junior midfielder Katie Dembrowski off of a penalty corner.
The loss ended Maryland’s seven game winning streak, but none of that matters now, as the Terps played well enough to secure their spot in the NCAA tournament.
They will be facing a Wake Forest team that won seven of their final eight regular season games before falling to North Carolina in the first round of the ACC tournament.
The Demon Deacons come into this game with the 13th best scoring offense in the country, led by junior forward Jule Grashoff, who was tallied 16 goals to go along with 14 assists on the year.
However, the Terps defense has been stout all year, giving up just an average of 1.37 goals per game and only allowing more than two goals just four times all year. Their worst defensive showing was against the second ranked offense in the country, the Virginia Cavaliers.
Wake Forest ranks 35th in the country, allowing two goals per contest. Maryland has solidified themselves as a good offensive team in the second half of the season, as they now employ the 16th best offense in the nation at 2.89 goals per game.
Senior midfielder Lein Holsboer and freshman defender Bodil Keus have led the Terps offensive resurgence, both tallying double digit goals this season.
Wake Forest is the fifth ACC team the Terps will have faced this year. Maryland is 2-2 against one of the toughest conferences in field hockey, including a huge win over then No. 3 Virginia.
The winner of this game will move onto the NCAA quarterfinals on Sunday, we’re they will face the winner of Duke and Miami of Ohio.
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