By Brandon Schwartzberg
No. 7 Maryland took on No. 4 Northwestern at home in a highly competitive Big Ten affair Thursday night. Northwestern got out in front after a scoreless first quarter, and the Wildcats were able to hold onto the lead as they took down the Terps, 3-1, on the road for their first conference victory of the season.
With the loss, Maryland dropped to 7-3, and 1-2 in the Big Ten, while Northwestern moved to 8-3, and 1-1 in conference play after the win.
The first quarter was a defensive battle, as only three total shots were sent, and none of them were able to find the back of the cage.
The first penalty corner of the game for Maryland came with ten minutes to go in the quarter, but the shot from forward Hope Rose off the in from midfielder Bibi Donraadt missed wide right and the Terps were unable to capitalize on the early scoring opportunity.
Northwestern came out aggressive soon after that, as their first shot of the game was fired in by forward Bente Baekers, but an excellent save from the Terps goalkeeper Noelle Frost kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard.
Early on in the second quarter, Northwestern was gifted a two-on-one advantage out in the open after poor passes by the Maryland offense. Midfielder Maddie Zimmer and Baekers played hot potato with the ball, which resulted in Zimmer scoring the goal after a diving attempt by Frost just was off the mark.
With six minutes left in quarter two, Northwestern was awarded with back-to-back penalty corners, but were unable to score on either after excellent team defense from the Terps blocked the shots and thwarted the chance for the Wildcats.
Nearing the end of the second quarter, Northwestern had an opportunity to score off of a penalty corner. The corner was taken in by forward Clara Roth, and for a moment it appeared that midfielder Alia Marshall had scored a goal for the Wildcats, after her shot hit off the side post.
However, after a brief moment of celebration, officials quickly waived off the goal, and the score entering halftime remained 1-0.
The third quarter was a defensive battle, similar to the play in the first half, as the first goal of the quarter didn’t come until 2:45 left.
Neither team was able to get their shots to fall in the third, until Roth scored her seventh goal of the season. The goal from Roth was tipped just over the goal line, and was scored off a rebound that left the Maryland defense overcrowded at the net, extending the lead to 2-0 as the game entered the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth, Northwestern managed to extend their lead to seemingly put away the Terps. The Wildcats were awarded with a penalty corner by Roth, and the goal was scored by Bente Baekers after her shot was deflected straight into the cage after a diving stop by Frost, extending the lead to 3-0.
With the clock winding down in the final quarter, Maryland didn’t give up, as they managed to get on the board with under a minute remaining in the game. The shot from Hope Rose was deflected into the top part of the net for a goal, as Maryland avoided its first shutout loss of the season.
Maryland couldn’t get anything moving on offense, as the Northwestern defense absolutely shut down the Terps up until 30 seconds left in the game, not allowing for any type of rhythm to be created. Maryland will look to rebound in their next outing as they take on No. 1 Iowa at home on Sunday.
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