By Brandon Schwartzberg
No. 8 Maryland field hockey (10-5, 1-4 B1G) will hit the road this weekend, as the Terps will take on Michigan State (7-5, 0-5) Friday and No. 2 Michigan (12-1, 4-1) Sunday.
Maryland’s most recent outing was one to remember, as long time head coach Missy Meharg picked up her 600th career victory in the 3-2 win over No. 17 Connecticut.
The Terps came out firing early on, looking to put the Huskies in an early hole. With just over five minutes gone by in the game, Maryland did just that.
Maryland was awarded a penalty corner, and while they didn’t get the immediate shot to score, the ball found its way to midfielder Emma DeBerdine. DeBerdine fired a shot into the back of the cage to put the Terps up 1-0.
In the third quarter, the officials went to replay review and awarded Maryland a penalty corner. The initial shot off the send-in was taken and rifled by forward Hope Rose, but was blocked by the Huskies defense. Midfielder Belle Bressler was at the right place at the right time, as she fired in the rebound from the outside of the circle to put the Terps up 2-0.
Only a minute into the fourth quarter Maryland tacked on another goal to their lead. Hope Rose got by the Huskies defense and found a perfectly positioned Emma DeBerdine, who rifled a shot into the lower corner for her second goal of the game, extending the Maryland lead to 3-0.
However, seemingly out of nowhere, Connecticut scored two goals in the span of two minutes to put pressure on Maryland with only five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Huskies’ first goal came from Kennedy Kourtney, who’s goal off a penalty corner trimmed the Terps lead to 2. Right after, Connecticut’s McKenna Sergi rifled in a hard shot into the bottom of the cage, trimming the Maryland lead to a narrow goal, as the Huskies took out their goalie for extra offense.
Maryland did a good job closing out the final few minutes, winning 3-2, and putting the celebration on for Missy Meharg.
“It’s nice to have the alums here – we have a lot of them, like 40 or 50. We’re celebrating a 10-year reunion team. What it means is the University, the region, the school, has been able to have the very best field hockey players choose the University of Maryland. I’ve been really fortunate to coach great athletes who love to win and they would tell you that winners win,” Meharg said.
While more than happy to get her 600th win, Meharg knew that the win wasn’t easy, as her team needs to do a better job of translating what they do in practice to game action.
“Finishing and goal scoring have been the focus at practice. In penalty corners and overall play at times we have been undisciplined. We have done a good job training but you have to translate that into the game,” Meharg said.
Michigan State comes into the game against the Terps looking to flip a switch, as they have lost each of their last two outings, being outscored 11-2.
Maryland has yet to lose in the all-time history with Michigan State, as the Terps are a perfect 13-0 against the Spartans.
The Terps’ second opponent, No. 2 Michigan, comes into the contest after a bounceback win against Indiana following their first loss of the season against No. 1 Iowa.
The battle against the top-ranked Hawkeyes was a tight one throughout, as the game ended up being decided on a shootout. The Wolverines suffered their first loss of the season, and they needed to get back in the win column against Indiana.
The Wolverines did just that, as they outscored the Hoosiers 5-1 after the first quarter following an early deficit.
Michigan is one of the top scoring teams in the country, as they rank second among division one schools in goals per game. At the helm of the Wolverines’ potent offense is senior midfielder Sofia Southman, as she ranks second in the nation in goals per game.
Maryland is 19-5 in the all-time series matchup with Michigan, but the Terps have dropped each of the past three meetings.
The game against Michigan State on Friday will start at 3 p.m. and the game against Michigan on Sunday will start at 1 p.m.