Entering her 31st season as Maryland head coach, Missy Meharg has something that not many other teams around the country have: two talented goalkeepers.
With senior Sarah Holliday and junior Noelle Frost, Meharg is not afraid to rotate the two goalies for any game, giving Frost more experience and Holliday the playing time she has earned as a senior.
Meharg has taken this approach because of the faith in both goalkeepers to get the job done. Frost, most notably, was given the starting nod in a ranked match against No. 13 Boston College earlier this season, a game that other teams would probably have wanted their starting goalie to play in. Missy Meharg, however, did not even hesitate giving the junior Frost the start.
“[Frost] has come so far in a year,” Meharg said. “These guys are splitting games right now, and at some juncture, one of them is going to be called upon to probably play it out. We just ask everybody to think equitably, service the team and trust the coaching staff. We have two great goalies.”
With the two goalies rotating appearances, Meharg has entrusted Holliday with the task of teaching and mentoring the younger Frost. Holliday, a goalie with a career .728 save percentage and 38 career wins, has welcomed the task with open arms.
“Given my career in the past, it’s always motivating to play with other goalkeepers,” Holliday said. “I’ve always competed with other goalkeepers. Given that Noelle has not played before, I think it’s awesome that she is getting this chance to really get experience because, obviously, next year I am going to be gone and she is going to lead the team. It’s not anything different than what it has been in the past.”
The competitive nature that Holliday speaks of is exactly what Meharg bases her coaching style off of. Meharg wants her players to always feel like they are fighting and earning for their spot every time they touch the field.
“I think every day we just have no hierarchy,” Meharg said. “Everybody has an opportunity to compete and keep the ball out of the net. It’s that simple. How you compete and how you train is typically how you are going to compete in a game. We are fortunate both [goalies] are doing that.”
While Holliday has had to adjust to sharing the spotlight, Frost has also had to step in and play just as well as Holliday in her starts. Frost is jumping from a 2017 season in which she made zero starts, to a role where she is playing an equal amount of time as Holliday in the early stages of the 2018 season.
Frost was a first team All-American in high school, taking her team to two straight Maryland state semifinal appearances. Frost also participated in the USA’s Field Hockey Futures program before coming to Maryland. Missy Meharg is well-aware of Frost’s abilities and feels she will benefit from this opportunity.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if this goalie rotation will continue as Maryland proceeds into Big Ten opponents. Based off of what Meharg is saying, it seems that the rotation will be here to stay with Holliday and Frost.