The Rutgers Scarlet Knights faced a daunting challenge coming to College Park on a quest to upset a fire breathing Maryland Terrapins field hockey squad that had won seven straight while outscoring their opponents 36-7 over that stretch. In a result that surprised no one, the Terps came away on the long end of a 4-0 final score.
First half - Teeth of the dragon
With their dragon's teeth bared, Maryland attacked the goal in the game's first seconds. The Terps needed all of four and a half minutes or so to pick up their first penalty corner and score of the game. By the 12th minute, Maryland had three more corners and a 2-0 lead courtesy first of Sarak Sprink then Maxine Fluharty. Sprink's score came on that first corner while Fluharty's came on a rebound off Sprink's shot on the latter corner.
Although Maryland dominated the play and possession holding the Scarlet Knights to just two shots and a single penalty corner for the half while themselves generating six corners and twelve shots the two penalty corner goals were all the Terps could manage. However, that 2-0 halftime lead could only serve to make Rutgers' search for the holy grail of an upset of the nation's number two squad a more daunting crusade.
Second half - Lots of smoke just a little fire
The Scarlet Knights brought out all their armor in the second half defending a trio of early Terrapins penalty corners and earning one of their own on a strong counter attack in the first ten minutes of the half. However, in the back and forth jousting the Terps would would be the first to knock their foe off their steed when freshman Moira Putsch, after taking a pass from Anna Dessoye, dribbled through the Rutgers defense in the circle and cracked home a shot in the 48th minute extending Maryland's lead to 3-0.
Overall the second half looked much like the first with Maryland dominating the possession time and location. However, a solid effort by Rutgers goalie Shevaun Hayes who frequently came far off her line to disrupt situations where the Terrapins appeared to have breakaway chances and a strong penalty corner defense anchored by Sofia Walia helped keep Maryland relatively in check. The Terps picked up one additional score on another goal by Sprink on Maryland's penultimate penalty corner.
Meanwhile, on the few occasions Rutgers managed to operate in Maryland's half, the Terps' defense, led by Sprink, Kasey Tapman, Rachel Frusher, and Steffi Schneid, anchored by goalie Brooke Cabrera protected the scoring circle, or shell as Coach Missy Meharg calls it with the ferocity of a dragon protecting it's hoard of treasure.
On the fall's first truly crisp - and windy - fall day, Maryland came away with the 4-0 win. The game ended on a somewhat cautionary note for the Terps however. With three seconds to play midfielder Katie Gerzabek went to the turf with an apparent knee injury. Her status for Maryland 's upcoming game Friday at Indiana is uncertain.