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Big Ten coaches announce field hockey players to watch

Trio of Terps includes midfielders Anna Dessoye and Maxine Fluharty as well as forward Katie Gerzabek.

Courtesy Maryland Athletics

Sticking with what they know, the B1G coaches released their preseason list of 27 players to watch in field hockey. The list includes five players from last year's All Big Ten first team and six players from the 2013 All Big Ten second team. Of course, none of those eleven players are from Maryland's field hockey squad because 2014 is the Terps' first season in the conference. However, two of Maryland's three representatives, Maxine Fluharty and Katie Gerzabek were first and second team All-ACC respectively in the Terrapins' final season in their erstwhile conference. Junior Anna Dessoye rounds out the Terps' trio.

Fluharty is an all-around player whose impact is often subtle but who can control the game from the midfield. She defends well, controls the ball precisely, and is always a threat to score. With 13 goals, she finished third for Maryland in the 2013 season and is the Terrapins' second leading returning scorer.

Gerzabek, who missed several games due to injury in the Terps final ACC campaign, will be looking for a return to the form she showed in her freshman and sophomore seasons when she scored a combined 27 goals and handed out 30 assists. Still, the senior has shown a knack for scoring big goals at critical times such as getting the Terps on the board with only three minutes to play when Maryland trailed by two goals in the 2011 national championship game that the Terps eventually won in double overtime.

Dessoye was one of Maryland's pleasant surprises in 2013. As a sophomore she finished second on the team in goals with 13 and her 42 points were also second best behind the 47 points from All-American Jill Witmer. She doled out a team high 16 assists making her the Terps' leading returning scorer.

Maryland opens the season on Friday, August 29 when they will face off against twentieth ranked Massachusetts in a game to be played at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Lancaster, PA. The Terps will open their home season on September 5 with a circle the date contest when arch rival North Carolina visits College Park.