Maryland field hockey travels to Happy Valley to face Big Ten rival Penn State on Friday, still remembering last year's battles between the two teams.
No. 8 Maryland (10-3) is on an eight-game winning streak after defeating Miami (Ohio) on Sunday, giving coach Missy Meharg career win No. 500. Next up is Penn State (5-6), whose two games against the Terps last year were incredibly physical. The referees handed out six cards during the two games, both of which Maryland won.
The memory of last year's games provides extra motivation for sophomore Lein Holsboer.
"I think this is my biggest rivalry game, because it was so physical last year," she said. "I am from a country [the Netherlands] where we don't really play physical hockey. And [Maryland] was coming from the ACC, which is also not as physical. So the Big Ten was definitely a different type of game."
Meharg believes the Terrapins' schedule has them prepared for their tilt against the Nittany Lions.
"I don't know if anything can be more physical than Michigan and Northwestern," she said, referring to two early season victories this year for Maryland. "I thought both of those games were very physical on all the athletes' parts."
The Nittany Lions are not led by one star player, but instead have a number of players who carry the scoring load. Penn State's leader has been freshman goalie Jenny Rizzo. Rizzo has a better save percentage and more saves than Maryland freshman goalie Sarah Holliday this year.
The Big Ten named Maryland senior captain Sarah Sprink and freshman Linnea Gonzales the Co-Defensive Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week, respectively. It was the third time that Sprink has received the recognition in her career. This was also the third time this season that Gonzales has been recognized as Freshman of the Week.
The game starts at 3:30. It will not be streamed, but live stats are available at umterps.com.