In an intense and extremely competitive quarterfinals matchup in the NCAA Field Hockey Tournament, the Maryland Terrapins defeated the Connecticut Huskies by a score of 2-1 in overtime. The Terps now advance to the semifinals to take on No. 3 Princeton.
“So happy for our team and our staff to be going back to the Final Four,” Meharg said. “It’s been a while since we have been to back-to-back Final Fours. A great progression for us.”
In an earlier matchup during the season against Connecticut, Maryland scored the first four goals of the contest on their way to a 4-2 win while playing on the road. This time, things did not come as easy for the Terps.
Missy Meharg’s group began the game with a lot of energy, as the 644 fans in attendance voiced their support of their Terps. Maryland came close on several scoring chances early in the first half but were unable to turn any of them into goals.
UConn did eventually break through the gritty Maryland defense with 11:25 left to play in the first half. After defender Hanna Bond was sent off via a green card, the Huskies were awarded a penalty corner and took advantage. Freshman midfielder Abby Gooderham provided the first goal of the game for the Huskies and gave them an early lead on the road.
Maryland did not take long to respond as Bibi Donraadt left her imprint on the second playoff game of her young career. Donraadt deflected home a long, crisp pass from Keus to even up the score.
Before halftime, Connecticut goalkeeper Cheyenne Sprecher received a yellow card for launching Maryland senior captain Linnea Gonzales’ stick behind the Connecticut goal. Redshirt sophomore Abby Lucas stood tall in her quick stint, surviving 5:07 before Sprecher came back into the game.
In the early stages of the second half, senior goalkeeper Sarah Holliday made two saves to keep the score knotted at one. Moments later junior midfielder Madison Maguire fanned on a shot inside the circle that could have given the Terps the lead.
With 17:00 remaining in the game, Sarah Holliday came up clutch again, making a diving stop on a Huskies penalty corner. Seven minutes later, Holliday came up with the save of the game robbing Abby Gooderham of her second goal of the game with a save on the freshman’s breakaway opportunity.
With 1:24 remaining in the second half, a Huskies foul led to a possible game-winning penalty corner for Maryland. After a Keus shot was stopped by Sprecher, a Donraadt rebound opportunity trickled just wide of the right post.
Heading into overtime, Maryland sent out their best seven players to take care of business. Maguire, Donraadt, Gonzales, Hannah Bond, Keus, Lorenz and Holliday took the field with a chance to advance the team to their 19th final four.
The beginning of the overtime period started with an incredible effort play by defender Hannah Bond. After Connecticut’s Cecile Pieper forced Holliday to leave the goal with her breakaway, Bond knocked the ball away from the goal line with a diving play to keep the Terps in the game.
“We talk about giving 110 percent in everything,” Bond said. “If I can contribute that to the team then I am happy to do that. All effort together and we really just played for each other.”
With 3:03 left in overtime, Maguire dangled her way through two Huskies before launching a shot past Sprecher for the game-winning goal.
“Nike gave me a good pass right to my stick,” Maguire said. “I just wanted to try and get a corner or get something on cage. It’s really exciting we’ve been working on getting back to the Final Four. I am just so happy we are going back.”
Maryland now moves on to Louisville, Kentucky to see if they can win their ninth National Championship in school history.