By Brandon Schwartzberg
No. 7 Maryland field hockey (7-2) returns home Thursday as the Terps take on No. 4 Northwestern (8-2) back home in College Park.
The Terps had a dominant weekend on the road, as their offense was electric in an 8-2 win over Indiana Friday. Their defense remained stifling, as they shutout American on Sunday en route to a 4-0 win. The wins bumped the Terps up from No. 9 to No.7 in the latest NFHCA rankings.
In the game against Indiana, the Terps started out slow, falling down 1-0 after an early goal from Hoosiers forward Jemima Cookson. But after that goal the game was all Maryland, as they scored five unanswered goals in the first half to put the game out of hand.
The scoring for Maryland started after a great pass from Anna Castaldo was sent to Kyler Greenwalt to tie the game. With momentum on the Terps’ side, a breakaway by Hope Rose got by a fallen defender, allowing for enough time to fling a shot past the Hoosiers goalie to give the Terps a 2-1 lead.
Maryland added 3 more goals in the first quarter, along with another in the second to go into halftime up 5-1. Indiana scored quickly to start the third quarter after a goal by Kennedy Reardon, hoping to gain some type of momentum to keep them in the game, but the Terps responded only a minute later after a Hoosiers turnover led to a Bibi Donraadt goal.
Thi swung momentum right back to Maryland, and two more goals in the half added on to the lead to result in a 8-2 final.
The four goals in the first were the most in a quarter this season for the Terps, and the depth was on full display, as seven players scored the team’s eight goals.
“It was very satisfying getting into the fluidity of playing team attack through the midfield and forward line. I thought our shot selections and our finishing were outstanding, so I applaud the Maryland team in that way,” stated Missy.
The win against American was the Terps third straight win, continuing the Terps’ roll.
The scoring started just five minutes in, after a turnover by the Eagles allowed Hope Rose and Bibi Donraadt to run out for an open breakaway where Donraadt found Rose for a wide open goal to give Maryland a 1-0 lead.
Just a few minutes later, Donraadt whipped a shot past the Eagles goalie to go up 2-0, and it was smooth sailing for the Terps after that.
Maryland added goals in both the third and fourth quarters to add insurance, and a shutout pitched by both Noelle Frost and Christina Calandra resulted in a 4-0 win.
“A dominant win after four games in nine days and flying to and from Indiana and coming downtown. Steve Jennings always has such a formidable team, very, very well-structured. A big time win. Maryland just got on the board quickly. Our passing, our sustained dominance through passing, was exceptional and the best match of the year so far with that,” Meharg said.
Northwestern comes into the game following a loss at home against a top-ten Rutgers team last Friday. The game was scoreless until the second quarter, when the Wildcats’ Kayla Blas scored a goal off a blocked shot to put her team up 1-0.
However, the Scarlet Knights put up goals in both the third and fourth quarters to pick up the huge conference win on the road, handing Northwestern their second loss of the season. The loss bumped the Wildcats down one spot from No. 3 to No. 4 in the latest NFHCA rankings.
The Wildcats have a very balanced attack on offense, as four players have five or more goals this season. Redshirt junior forward Bente Baekers leads the team with eight goals, having played only eight games, averaging a goal per game.
Nine Wildcats have multiple assists on the year, making it so important that Maryland plans excellent team defense, not playing as individuals, but instead as a collective unit.
In the all-time matchup against Northwestern, Maryland has the edge, having gone 18-10 against the Wildcats. However, the Wildcats have been the better team as of late, having won each of the last two matchups, both of which occurred in the spring during the COVID-affected 2020 season.
The game on Thursday will start at 6 p.m. and will take place at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park.
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