By Brandon Schwartzberg
No. 7 Maryland field hockey (3-1) looks to build off of two dominant defensive games as they take on the 3-1 California Golden Bears Sunday as part of the Terrapin Invitational.
In their first game of the Terrapin Invitational, the Terps were involved in a defensive contest between No. 21 UMass, as there was only one total goal in the game, which came from senior defender Riley Donnelly in the second quarter of the game.
Neither team was able to convert on their numerous penalty corner opportunities, and Maryland really struggled to successfully fling the ball past former Olympian Marlise van Tonder. However, the lone goal from Donnelly was enough to win the game, as it was paired with some stellar team defense from the Terps.
Head coach of the Terps Missy Meharg was very pleased with the way her team worked as a unit on the defensive side of the ball against the Minutewomen, specifically goalkeeper Noelle Frost.
“We were strong. We made some errors, but Noelle was so strong. We rallied, and she was able to keep us in it,” Meharg said.
Coach Meharg also mentioned the strong play from sophomore defender Rayne Wright.
“Rayne is one of the best players in the country. Her ability to run in a low position and her athleticism and her ability to make skills in a low balanced position is amazing. Her attack skills are becoming so strong and she’s confident,” Meharg said.
Wright knows how much the home energy helps get her and her teammates ready for action, which allows for quick starts and easy rebounds.
“It’s really helpful, especially if we make a mistake. Everybody is just cheering you on and you’re like ‘you know what, get your head up, you’re good’ and then you keep playing so it’s really helpful, I love it.” Wright said.
California comes into the game against the Terps after a win against Towson University. The Golden Bears had a good all around team effort against the Tigers, scoring a goal in each quarter, with their defense only allowing one goal en route to a 4-1 win.
The win bumped the Golden Bears up to 3-1, with back to back wins to give them momentum coming into the game against the Terrapins.
The Golden Bears are led by their star graduate student Anne Van Hoof. Van Hoof leads the Golden Bears in both shots and goals, as she has been by far California’s most aggressive player early on. Van Hoof is top ten in numerous categories among America East players, including goals, shots, and points.
Junior goalkeeper Cato Knipping has already pitched two shutouts in only four games thus far this season, which is tied for the most among America East players.
In the head-to-head history between California and Maryland, the Terps have absolutely dominated the Golden Bears. Maryland is a perfect 11-0 during the series, with their last win coming in 2018 in Berkley, when they won 5-0.
The game on Sunday will start at 2 p.m. and will take place at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park.
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