Image courtesy of Zach Bland/Maryland Athletics

Preview: No. 7 Maryland field hockey faces toughest test yet against No. 1 Iowa

By Brandon Schwartzberg

No. 7 Maryland field hockey (7-3, 1-2) will look to rebound after a disappointing loss as they take on No. 1 Iowa (11-0, 3-0) in a big time conference matchup in College Park on Sunday.

In their previous outing against No. 4 Northwestern on Friday, the Terps were outplayed in every aspect of the game. Maryland lost 3-1, with its only goal coming in garbage time long after the game had been decided.

The game started out as a defensive battle, as neither team scored in the first quarter, but Northwestern got out to a lead early on in the second quarter and didn’t look back. Poor Maryland passing led to a two-on-one opportunity for the Wildcats, and midfielder Maddie Zimmer took advantage with a goal that was shot past a diving Noelle Frost.

The Terps’ solid defense in the first half was the only bright spot in an otherwise forgettable game, as sophomore defender Rayne Wright played a key part in holding the Wildcats to one goal within the first two quarters. 

“I think that moving forward is what’s going to make it more dangerous, but holding back with the defense is awesome at the same time because we were able to stop them on their breakaways. Staying strong like we did in the first half where we were able to stop them was great,” Wright said.

Northwestern added on goals late in the third and early in the fourth, putting away any hope the Terps had for a comeback. 

While Maryland scored off a beauty of a goal from forward Hope Rose, it was too little, too late. The Terps walked off the field in defeat, unable to take advantage of a monster Big Ten matchup.

Iowa comes into the game against Maryland having played four straight games involving top-ten opponents, winning all of them. Their latest game came Friday on the road in New Jersey, where they defeated No. 6 Rutgers, 2-1. 

The Hawkeyes took the lead in the second quarter after a scoreless first, with goals from midfielders Nikki Freeman and Maddy Murphy putting the Hawkeyes up 2-0 entering halftime. Rutgers added a goal in the fourth, but an excellent well-rounded showing from Iowa kept their undefeated streak alive, ahead of their matchup with the Terps.

The leader on offense for Iowa has been senior midfielder Ellie Holley, as her eight goals and seven assists lead the Hawkeyes. Holley also has scored four game winners thus far, while no other Hawkeye has two. 

While Holley will be the key player to watch for, Iowa also has seven other players who have scored three or more goals this season, proving the well-roundedness of the Hawkeye offense.

Iowa’s defense is similarly stifling, having pitched eight shutouts thus far. Goalkeeper Grace McGuire leads the Big Ten in goals against average, saves, and shutouts per game for the Hawkeyes.

In the all-time matchup against Iowa, Maryland has gotten the better of the Hawkeyes. Winners of 12 affairs in a row, the Terps lead the all-time series against the Hawkeyes, 16-3-1.

The game on Sunday will start at 12 p.m. and will take place at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.