The top seeded Maryland Terrapins field hockey team made their second trip to the blue turf of Ocker Field at the University of Michigan to face the Ohio State Buckeyes in a quarterfinal match up in their first Big Ten Tournament. The Terps had defeated the Buckeyes 6-0 in their regular season game and took the rematch by another dominating 5-0 final.
First Half - Mostly Terps
Despite the unusual 10:00 am start time, the Terps dominated from the outset. For the first 20 minutes or so, the ball rarely left either the Terrapins' possession or the Ohio State defensive half. Barely two minutes in the Terps had the game's initial shot and they needed just another four minutes to generate the game's first penalty corner.
Trying to gauge how the opponent will defend, Maryland typically runs a rather vanilla set on their first penalty corner of the game so it's more the exception than the rule for the Terps to score and this first corner of the B1G Tournament fit the rule.
In fact, Maryland wouldn't break through for their first goal until the 18th minute scoring on their fourth penalty corner of the half. The Terps primary inserter Anna Dessoye was getting a breather so the insertion duties fell to Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Moira Putsch. Putsch played the ball directly to Sarah Sprink, the B1G's Defensive Player of the Year. The junior pushed the ball into the circle and drove her shot off the pads of Ohio State goalie Liz Tamburro into the cage and Maryland had an early 1-0 lead.
Sprink would pick up her second score of the game on a penalty stroke. The stroke was awarded after a Buckeyes' field player deflected a shot headed to the goal with her foot off Maryland's fifth penalty corner of the half.
At this point, the Buckeyes to their credit, began to fight back. They began to hold some possession and generate a bit of offense picking up two penalty corners in the final five minutes of the half. Maryland defended both easily and took a halftime lead in a period that they dominated by a wider margin than the 2-0 score. The Terps out shot the Buckeyes 13-2 and had a 5-2 edge in penalty corners.
Second Half - All Terps
If it's possible, Maryland opened the second half even more aggressively than they had started the game. They needed under a minute to earn their sixth penalty corner of the game. On the defensive half, Ohio State didn't penetrate the scoring circle until the game's 65th minute. The Buckeyes would pick up on late penalty corner but Jill Genovese, who had come into goal in the 59th minute to gain some experience and provide some rest for starting goalie Brooke Cabrera, easily made the save.
Following Maryland's title clinching win over Iowa, Maryland coach Missy Meharg talked about Maryland's success in scoring not only directly on penalty corners but also scoring on rebounds and by keeping the ball active and in play in threatening positions. This is exactly how the Terrapins' third goal occurred.
Sarah Sprink had her initial shot blocked on Maryland's seventh penalty corner of the game. However, the Terps kept the ball alive inside the scoring circle and Putsch centered a pass to Carrie Hanks who redirected it for her fourth goal of the season and the Terps' third of the game.
Hanks' score came in the 42nd minute. Less than five minutes later Maryland picked up goal number four. Again, the play was instigated by a penalty corner. Though the Terps didn't convert on the initial attempt, they again kept the ball in dangerous position. Sprink finally played a pass from about 25 yards to Dessoye in the circle and the junior redirected it for a 4-0 Maryland advantage.
Just under two minutes elapsed between goals four and five. This time, Katie Gerzabek received a pass from freshman Lein Holsboer. Gerzabek settled the pass into open space in the circle and whipped a backhand shot past Tamburro.
The win is the twelfth consecutive for Maryland who improve to 17-2 on the season. The nationally second ranked Terps will face the winner of the game between Penn State and Michigan State in Friday's first semifinal.