The Terps came out firing against the Northeastern Huskies in the second game of the Conference Cup played at the Spooky Nook Athletic Complex in Manheim, PA. Although it took some time for the pressure to pay off, Maryland erupted scoring all four goals in the second half of their 4-1 win.
Lots of pressure but no steam
Maryland attacked from the outset with Anna Dessoye getting the Terrapins' first shot less than two minutes into the contest. The shot went wide but Maryland maintained the pressure and drew a penalty corner just two and half minutes in. Freshman Moira Putsch played the ball in for the Terps who worked it to Maxine Fluharty but the senior had her shot blocked by the Wildcats' defense.
Maryland continued to press forward and Alyssa Parker drove into the scoring circle in the fifth minute. However, Northeastern's goalie, Becky Garner came up with the first of her four saves for the half. And still the Terps attacked, showing their versatility as midfielder Delaney Leathers drove along the baseline and picked up a second penalty corner in the eighth minute but Maryland again failed to capitalize.
The barrage continued with a shot by Parker and another save by Garner and two more penalty corners over the next 12 minutes. Despite the pressure, however, with sixteen minutes to play in the first half, the Terps were unable to find the back of the cage and the game remained scoreless.
After Sarah Sprink's missed shot on the Terrapins' the fourth corner in the eighteenth minute, the game settled into a more defensive back and forth affair though the Terps certainly had the lion's share of possession. Before Katie Gerzabek drew the fifth corner of the half, Maryland failed to get off another shot for nearly 10 minutes. Shari Jones played the ball in but a Northeastern defender came up with the save on Dessoye's shot.
Countering off the penalty corner, Northeastern managed their first shot of the half in the thirtieth minute. However, it didn't challenge Terrapins' goalie Brooke Cabrera and went harmlessly wide. Gerzabek responded with a "back to the cage" shot in the thirty-first minute that also went wide.
Gerzabek had another opportunity with 55 seconds to play but Garner again came up with the save. With two seconds to play, the Wildcats finally got a shot on goal as they rushed down field following Gerzabek's shot. Cabrera came up with the save and, despite the Terps holding a 14-2 advantage in shots and a 5-0 edge in corners, the half ended in a scoreless tie.
Second half - boiling over
The second half started with Maryland again putting pressure on the Wildcats' defense. This time the Terps needed just over a minute to draw their first penalty corner. With the freshman Putsch again handling the inserting pass, and Rachel Frusher making a second pass off the stop, Sarah Sprink was able to break the scoring drought with Maryland's first successful corner of the season giving the Terps a 1-0 lead early in the period.
Getting that first goal seemed to settle the Terrapins as they maintained their relentless attack. Following some chaos in front of the Wildcats' cage, the Terps drew yet another corner just three minutes after Sprink's score. This time, Fluharty was the beneficiary deflecting Sprink's shot into the cage giving Maryland a 2-0 advantage with just over 30 minutes to play.
Maryland continued to generally dominate the possession and the flow of the game eventually picking up an eighth corner in the forty-fifth minute. Sprink had her shot blocked ending the string of scoring on corners at two. The game had a scary moment in the forty-eighth minute when a Northeastern player was hit in the face with the ball. Play continued after a brief stoppage to treat her and with 19 minutes to go, the Wildcats picked up a score on their third corner of the game to cut the lead to 2-1.
However, the Terps needed barely two minutes to respond. Scoring in the run of play for the second consecutive game, Shari Jones redirected a centering pass from Steffi Schneid and finished it off to put Maryland back up by two.
As the game went on, Maryland's talent, fitness and pressure took its toll on Northeastern. The Terps killed off a two minute green card on Alyssa Parker in the fifty-seventh minute. They followed that with their fourth goal and second in the run of play. The score came with 7:17 to play as Putsch rang up the first goal of her Maryland career taking a pass from Dessoye and putting the ball in the bottom right corner of the cage for the final 4-1 margin.
After defeating one top ten team and one unranked opponent, the challenge ratchets up for Maryland as the Terps will renew their rivalry with the second ranked North Carolina Tar Heels who are coming off two dominating wins in the ACC-B1G challenge having defeated Michigan 5-1 and Iowa 4-1 in Chapel Hill to open their season. The Tar Heels will come to College Park Friday afternoon with game time scheduled for 4:00 pm.