The Maryland Terrapins field hockey team held off a strong challenge from the ninth ranked Boston College Eagles. Playing their second game without All-ACC forward Jill Witmer, who joined the U.S. National Team in Argentina last Saturday, the Terps came from behind twice to defeat the Eagles 3-2 and maintain their perfect 9-0 (2-0 ACC) record.
The Terps had early opportunities with penalty corners in the third fifth and sixth minutes but BC's goaltender and defense were up to the task each time. The home team broke the ice in the eighth minute on a give and go off a breakaway. Maryland came right back peppering BC goalkeeper Leah Settipane with three shots in the next two and a half minutes missing an opportunity when freshman Mieke Hayn couldn't get a rebound on Anna Dessoye's shot past the hot goalie. However, the pressure led to a Maryland corner and the Terps capitalized with Sarah Sprink scoring off a pass from Ali McEvoy. Maryland had one more opportunity on another penalty corner in the eighteenth minute but Sprink had her shot blocked. The teams went to the locker room tied at one.
The Eagles opened the second half earning their first penalty corner of the match in the thirty seventh minute and they used it to recapture the lead scoring on a direct shot. Both teams struggled to find opportunities over the next thirteen minutes as the officials broke out the penalty cards with the home team issued five minute yellow cards in the forty-eighth and fiftieth minutes and the Terps Ali McEvoy picking up a two minute green card early in the fifty first minute. Still holding a player advantage, the Terrapins continued to attack and Spink converted Maryland's sixth penalty corner into their second goal once again knotting the score at two. Still holding a player advantage, the Terps capitalized quickly scoring again less than a minute later when Hayley Turner scored after receiving a long hit in the circle.
The 3-2 lead was never comfortable for Maryland as BC turned up the pressure and nearly scored the equalizer on a penalty corner in the fifty-eighth minute. Fortunately for the Terps, the direct shot hit the post and the defense cleared. With just under eight minutes to play Maryland picked up a five minute yellow card making their one goal margin even more precarious. BC pulled their goalie two minutes later for a two player advantage. They had a final chance to tie the score drawing a penalty corner with just under two minutes to play but Maryland goalkeeper Natalie Hunter made a kick save to preserve the win. The road gets no easier for Maryland as they travel across the state to take on seventh ranked UMass on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the men's soccer team looked to rebound from Tuesday's disappointing tie with Old Dominion when they welcomed ACC newcomer the Pittsburgh Panthers to Ludwig Field. The visitors likely didn't view the Terps as congenial hosts as Maryland took a 2-0 victory dominating every phase of play from the opening kick. However, the first half left Terps fans with some reason to be a bit on edge. Despite outshooting the Panthers 8-0, having only 5 fouls to Pitt's 11, and holding a 6 to 1 edge in corner kicks, the teams entered the half deadlocked at zero. Patrick Mullins who worked himself free for eleven shots during the game had an early scoring opportunity off a free kick in the second minute but had his shot blocked. Redshirt senior Jake Pace, who launched six shots of his own, had the best opportunity for the Terrapins with about ten minutes remaining in the half but his close in header off a cross sailed just high.
Mullins got Maryland off to a quick start early in the second half with a shot from five yards just sixteen seconds in that Pitt keeper Dan Lynd deflected. Three minutes later the senior ripped a shot from just outside the box that clanged off the post. The Terps had their constant pressure rewarded in the sixty-eighth minute. After Mullins' header went high, Mikey Ambrose played a ball to Pace who chipped in his shot for a 1-0 Terrapin lead. Just over ten minutes later, Mullins sent in a free kick that Pace nearly headed into the net. Pitt keeper Lynd blocked the initial attempt but failed to control the ball and Pace picked up the rebound and drove it home extending Maryland's lead to 2-0 with just over eleven minutes to play. Mullins had one last scoring chance for the Terps with just under a minute to play but saw his shot saved.
"We played a great game tonight. We were great from the first minute to the last minute," head coach Sasho Cirovski said. "I'm very pleased with our response from Tuesday. We came out with a lot of energy, a lot of purpose and a lot of skill. It was a very complete game and I'm happy with the overall performance." The Terps won't have much time to savor their third ACC win (3-0-1) in four tries as Cirovski continues to challenge his young squad with a tough schedule. Next up, the fifteenth ranked Tulsa Golden Hurricane visit Ludwig for a match up on Tuesday night. Kickoff is slated for seven pm.