You may want to call it a result of scheduling but it should come as no surprise that the Olympic sports accounted for two of Maryland's first milestones as a member of the Big Ten. First, women's soccer recorded the first ever conference win in any sport with a 2-0 win over Rutgers last Friday. Tuesday, the B1G announced that Maryland field hockey players Sarah Sprink and Moira Putch garnered two of the three Player of the Week Awards. Sprink, the junior defender, and Putsch, the freshman forward, became the first Terrapins' athletes in any sport to win a Big Ten weekly honor. Sprink was named the Defensive Palyer of the Week while Putsch won the Freshman of the Week Award.
So, what exactly, did the Maryland Junior co-captain do to earn her award. To begin, she anchored a defense that notched two shutout wins over Drexel and Temple. Temple entered the game against Maryland ranked 16th in the country and averaging over three goals per game.
Second, though she rarely crosses midfield during the run of play, Sprink is establishing herself a one of the key players in the Terps' penalty corner attack unit. With a driving shot reminiscent of recent Maryland graduate Jemma Buckley, the junior from Neuss, Germany, is perhaps, the first option opposing teams must defend on this set scoring opportunity. Despite facing that focus, Sprink knocked home a goal in each game and she currently leads the Terps with four goals. She has two assists and her 10 points also leads the team (in individual statistics, a field hockey goal counts for two points and an assist counts as one point).
A big Putsch
Putsch, the lightning quick 5'5" freshman from, Media PA picked up the Freshman of the Week Award after registering five points in the back to back 3-0 Maryland wins. The weekend explosion was not terribly surprising. Close observers of the team could see the freshman's confidence growing from game to game.
She picked up two goals in Saturday's game against Drexel. Because of her size and speed she might remind fans of 2013 ACC Offensive Player of the year Jill Witmer. However, the two goals she scored against Drexel were more evocative of another Terrapins great, Katie O'Donnell.
The first goal came in the run of play when she redirected a long pass from Steffi Schneid that originated outside the scoring circle. Her second score came when she took a pass at the post after making the initial injection pass on a penalty corner. Both were the type of play on which Odie frequently scored.
Putsch rang up an assist in Sunday's game against Temple. Once again, inserting the pass on a penalty corner, she set up one of Sprink's two weekend scores.
The Terps will open B1G conference play with three consecutive road games beginning with a game at 15th ranked Northwestern Saturday afternoon. The following weekend, Maryland travels to Michigan to take on the Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans before finally opening their B1G conference home slate against Ohio State on October third.
Apologies to Mikias Eticha who won the Offensive Player of the Week after the first week of the season on Spetember 2.