Currently heading into the Big Ten conference tournament, Maryland (16-2) has been sharp on both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball. Sophomore midfielder Brooke DeBerdine has been a huge reason why.
The five-foot DeBerdine is the smallest player on the entire roster, but her play on the field hockey team has head coach Missy Meharg giving the sophomore large praise. Meharg’s midfielders often play the entirety of games without a single break coming off the field. DeBerdine is one of these players that Meharg has instilled trust in to play every second and contribute both offensively and defensively.
“She’s just your workhorse,” Meharg said. “We have an engine room in there with Kelee Lepage, Brooke DeBerdine and Linnea Gonzales. It’s powerful and they are getting long, extended minutes. I applaud them, they play smart.”
DeBerdine, a graduate of Penn Manor high school and Millersville, Pennsylvania native, has been involved in the starting lineup for the Terps since she stepped foot into College Park. In DeBerdine’s freshman year, she started all 23 games for Maryland, earning a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament Team in 2017.
While DeBerdine may not produce goals at a rate similar to senior Linnea Gonzales and sophomore Bodil Keus, she is tasked with controlling the pace of the game and eliminating opponents’ late scoring chances.
“I’m not in the position to goal score a lot, but [I am] more called for to be a distributor,” DeBerdine said. “That’s where I am most comfortable, but whatever my team needs me for.”
The sophomore has only four points on the season for the Terps, but the impact that DeBerdine has had on big games against Princeton and Connecticut go beyond the stat sheet. DeBerdine feels that the team this season is extremely different than last year’s team that lost in the National Championship game.
“I think for this team especially, we have gone through a lot of diversity this year,” DeBerdine said. “This year we have a lot of depth on the sideline. We have a lot of forwards, so whenever we need fresh legs they are coming in. Being able to have subs on the sideline is really helpful this year.”
Since entering the University of Maryland’s program, DeBerdine has improved several aspects of her game, including her stick handling, passing and defensive production. In only her second year, DeBerdine has already earned the trust of her veteran teammates with her willingness to play any position for the team.
Her versatility has flown under the radar for the team, but the commitment she has shown has had a major impact on the program.
“What I have to offer is hard work,” DeBerdine said. “I might not be the most skilled like Linnea Gonzales, but I think showing heart on the field can keep you out there. ”