By Brandon Schwartzberg
No. 7 Maryland field hockey took on No. 8 Penn State in each team’s first conference matchup of the year. Both teams went back-and-forth all game long, with the intensity at a sky high level.
The game went into overtime tied 2-2, and Penn State managed to score the winning goal, as they remained undefeated and moved to 6-0 on the year. Maryland dropped to 4-2 on the year after the loss.
“The outcome is disappointing for our group,” coach Missy Meharg said following the loss. “The nice thing is we’ve been playing a lot of quarters that were brilliant. Our first quarter today was quite strong. When things fell for us, we lost our connectivity.”
The first quarter started out slow on the offensive end, as the first shot of the game from either side didn’t come until five minutes had gone by in the quarter. The first shot of the game by Maryland forward Margot Lawn was saved after a diving attempt from the Penn State goalie Brie Baracco.
The Terps first corner penalty chance came at the 8:17 mark of the first quarter, and they took advantage of the opportunity. The ball was taken in by midfielder Bibi Donraadt, and the shot was fired in and scored on a direct line by midfielder Julianna Tornetta. Assists were credited to Maura Verleg and Bibi Donraadt as Tornetta scored her third goal of the season.
Penn State’s first penalty corner came with just under five minutes left in the first quarter, but they were unable to convert. Midfielder Mackenzie Allessie took it in, and the shot from midfielder Anna Simon was no good after a great save by the Maryland goalkeeper Noelle Frost.
Penn State got on the board with just under three minutes remaining in the quarter after the goal from Mackenzie Allessie. Allessie shot her own rocket from the top right side of the circle, which hit the crossbar, but was tipped into the goal to tie the game at one a piece.
The second quarter started as a 1-1 tie, and remained that way up until two minutes left in the quarter. The quarter was dominated by defense, as the intensity level truly picked up, but Penn State was able to get onto the board in the quarter.
The Terps had two penalty corners in the quarter, but were unable to convert on either of them. Brie Baracco saved each of the Terps two penalty corners, the first of which came from Riley Donnelly, and the second came from Hope Rose.
With just under six minutes left in the second quarter, Penn State was awarded back-to-back penalty corners, but couldn’t convert on either. Both shots came from Simon, and in what seemingly was deja vu, both shots were saved after diving attempts from Frost.
As the second quarter was winding down, Penn State’s Sophia Gladieux fired a shot into the corner of the top shelf that just got by Frost.
The Terps had a plus four advantage in the shots category over Penn State, but the Nittany Lions were able to convert on a higher percentage of their shots, as they took a 2-1 lead into half.
The intensity level on defense of the first half was still there in the third quarter, as neither team was able to get on the board in the quarter.
Neither of Penn State’s two penalty corners in the quarter turned into goals, as the Maryland defense held strong. The first corner was taken in by Mackenzie Allessie, and the shot by Simon was saved after a dive from Frost. The second corner was taken in by Bednarski, and the shot from Simon after the pass from Allessie was once again saved by Frost.
Maryland only put up one shot in the third quarter, as the Nittany Lion defense was outstanding, not allowing the Terps to feel any sort of comfortable on offense.
The Terps came out firing early on in the fourth quarter, as their first shot of the quarter was scored by midfielder Nathalie Fiechter after a corner deflection, her first of the season, with an assist credited to Donnelly, to tie the game at two a piece.
“That was a great moment, a lot of fun. It’s great when everything comes together and we get the shot in,” Fiechter said of her first goal of the season.
With eleven minutes left in the fourth quarter of a tie game, Penn State was awarded back-to-back penalty corners, but couldn’t convert on either. On their first, the shot from Simon was blocked by the Maryland defense, and on their second, the shot by Allessie was saved by Frost, her sixth save of the game.
It was only fitting that in such a back-and-forth game that four quarters weren’t enough to decide it, and overtime ensued.
Penn State had a great opportunity to win the game with a penalty corner just two minutes into overtime, but a lack of communication resulted in no one getting the ball after the send in and a botched opportunity for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State scored the game winner after the shot was fired in by Sophia Gladieux into the bottom right corner, her second goal of the game, with an assist credited to Simon. While both teams played with unreal efforts, Penn State managed to leave College Park with the win.
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