Maryland's field hockey team completed an outstanding weekend for the Terps putting together their second shutout of the season with a 6-0 drubbing of the Miami Redhawks. Unlike Saturday's win the Terps started their offensive assault quickly just forty seconds into the game. Mieke Hayn ran a give and go to Jill Witmer who centered to Alyssa Parker who had her shot deflected by strong interior defense. After another early shot by Anna Dessoye, the game settled into a battle in the midfield for the next ten minutes or so but the Terps were clearly the aggressor. Redhawks goalkeeper Sarah Mueller picked up her second save on a shot by Hayn. The Terps kept the ball in the circle and Maxine Fluharty picked up Maryland's first penalty corner of the game and Maryland worked the set play to perfection. Dessoye inserted the pass to Fluharty who swept a pass to Steffi Schneid assisting the junior from Munich in her first goal of the season. Just over a minute later, the Terps had another penalty corner opportunity but Mueller deflected Sarah Sprink's shot over the goal.
Continuing their attacking style, Maryland maintained pressure on Miami's defense constantly pushing forward and peppering the goal. And the pressure paid off in a scoring outburst that effectively put the game on ice. The barrage started on a steal in the midfield by senior defender Hayley Turner. Turner passed ahead to Witmer who dribbled into the scoring circle and launched a backhanded shot that was beautifully redirected into the cage by Emma Rissinger. The goal, coming 24:38 into the half was the second in as many days for the redshirt freshman. But with this Terrapin team, fans should neither celebrate to long nor look away from the action. After the restart, Ali McEvoy blasted a long ground ball pass from Maryland's defensive half to a wide open Witmer who had gotten behind the Redhawks defense near the top of the circle. The goalie came far out of the cage and feeling her on her back, Witmer faked one way and turned the other easily smashing her shot into the wide open cage. Maryland had scored their second goal in the span of fifty seconds and opened up a 3-0 lead. Still, they weren't done though they did need all of three minutes before scoring their fourth goal again off a beautifully executed penalty corner. The sequence started with a shot from Dessoye that was saved but eventually touched the foot of a Miami defender to earn the corner. Dessoye inserted again and Sprink, who received the ball after the stop passed to Turner who had lined up wide on the right. Turner swept the ball inside the right post.
These recaps frequently focus on the offensive aspect of the game but I need to write a few words about Maryland's defense. Miami's first shot came with just twenty six seconds remaining in the half and soared well high. TO me it looked as though the Terps stayed well formed on defense getting back quickly when necessary, consistently stepping into passing lanes and using superior stick skills to make solid tackles. In fact, Coach Missy Meharg's initial post game comments addressed her team's defensive effort. "We played such great counter defense - collectively and individually. For most of the game there were zero shots and that's been our goal - to really stay focused on vigilant defense, communication quickly as who's got marks and who's got cover."
The Terps understandably started slowly in the second half. Defender Christine Knauss had picked up a five minute yellow card with just thirty-one seconds to play in the first half. The penalty carries over so Maryland was a player down for the first four and a half minutes or so. Just four seconds after successfully killing off the penalty, Forward Shelby Sydnor picked up a two minute green card. Though Maryland again killed off the penalty, playing short handed for nearly seven minutes kept the Terps from developing their usual offensive flow and rhythm. The Terrapins picked up a penalty corner in the forty ninth minute but Miami's defense blocked Ali McEvoy's first shot and her rebound hit the left post. No matter. Maryland picked up a goal in transition as Dessoye drove into the circle again drawing the Redhawks goaltender far out of the goal. Dessoye made a lateral pass to Fluharty who saw Alyssa Parker behind the goalie. Parker easily drove it into the open cage for a 5-0 Maryland lead. Maryland closed out the scoring when McEvoy blasted in a shot off another penalty corner in the sixty-fourth minute giving the Terps six goals from six different goal scorers.
Miami did play with a bit more desperation in the second half earning all three of their penalty corners and getting off six shots as opposed to the one in the first half. Fortunately, Maryland's goaltenders Brooke Cabrera, who started the second half in relief of Natalie Hunter, and Jill Genovese who saw her first action of the season were up to the task with Cabrera notching two saves and Genovese one to maintain the shutout. The Terps open ACC play on Friday September 20 when the host Wake Forest in a seven pm start.