The game started at 11:00 a.m. ET so this was a much earlier start time than Maryland is used to playing.
A Little History Lesson
Ohio State's head coach, Alex Venechanos, was a three-year starter in goal for the Terps and graduated in 2003. Cathy Reese has never lost to Ohio State and Maryland as a program has never lost in Columbus. The Buckeyes have a trio of 30-goal scorers this season and have seen a meteoric rise in their program, but dropped their last two games coming into their matchup with Maryland.
After a very poor first half against Princeton earlier in the week, Maryland came out and played much better. The first few minutes were a little sloppy for both teams, but Ohio State's Cian Dabrowski picked up a yellow card and gave the Terps a one-man advantage. Taylor Cummings took advantage and got the scoring started almost five minutes into the game. Maryland got its second goal of the game 23 seconds later as Zoe Stukenberg, who is becoming a great passer on this team, found Brooke Griffin, who finished for the goal. Maryland's star freshman, Megan Whittle, scored an unassisted goal to make it 3-0 with 22:54 left in the first half.
Rainey Hodgson got Ohio State on the board with 19:06 left in the half, but Kristen Lamon answered for the Terps less than a minute later on a feed from Griffin. She scored that goal at the 18:27 mark and then Maryland went on a run. Griffin scored her second goal of the game with 17:12 left in the half and made it a hat trick with 15:32 left. Whittle added a free-position goal at the 14:16 mark and Cummings scored an unassisted goal 43 seconds later.
With 19:06 left in the first half, the score was 3-1 in favor of Maryland. With 13:33 left in the first half, the score was now 8-1. Katie Chase ended the run by scoring her 36th goal of the year for the Buckeyes with 11:39 left in the half. That would be the last score of the half and Maryland went into the break up 8-2.
While the first half was lopsided, the second half was competitive. Ohio State got the scoring started as Molly Wood got the Buckeyes to within five. It took more than eight minutes for either team to score. Just as Lamon did in the first half, Erin Collins answered for the Terps a few minutes afterwards. Chase scored 57 seconds later to make it 9-4 but Kelly McPartland saw Chase's 57 seconds and raised her 16 because she scored just 41 seconds after Chase to push the lead back to six.
Ohio State made a great push in the last 12 minutes of the game but it was in too big of a hole and Maryland always had an answer to stop its run. Molly Wood scored with 11:56 left to make it 10-5 and Chase got a hat trick with 7:13 left to get it back to four but Cummings got a hat trick and pushed it back to five.
Chase scored her fourth goal of the game with five minutes left but Megan Whittle scored her 49th goal of the year (giving her yet another hat trick in the process) with 2:34 left to essentially ice the game and Stukenberg put the nail in the coffin with a free-position goal with a little over a minute to play. Kelsea Ayers scored with a second left on the clock to make it 13-8 but the outcome of the game was not in doubt after Whittle's goal.
Ohio State was averaging around 14 goals a game coming in and the Maryland defense held it to eight. The defense has continued to play well and the offense matched them in the first half. Maryland ran out to an 8-1 lead but then got out-scored 7-5 in the second half (even though one of those goals came with just a second left in the game and made no difference in the result).
Maryland out-shot the Buckeyes 30-20 but once again, the key was the draw control battle. The Terps won 8-3 in the first half and 7-3 in the second half for a 15-6 advantage. Maryland spread the ball around on offense. They had three players with hat tricks and had seven players score goals. Six of those seven were starters while Ohio State only had four players score goals and only two of them were starters.
Maryland has their last away game of the year against Johns Hopkins next week. Then the team returns to the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex on the weekend to face Michigan with the chance to clinch at least a share of the Big Ten title.
The bottom line is that this was a good performance but not a great one. Maryland played a great first half on offense and defense but did not sustain that through the second half. They gave Ohio State hope and opportunities and the Buckeyes used that to try and get themselves back in the game.
To Maryland's credit, they repeatedly rebuffed the Buckeyes and continued to score and answer Ohio State's goals with goals of their own in order to keep their cushion and lead. There is still plenty of room for improvement but you can't deny this team's mental toughness. Some teams would have wilted in the face of the Buckeye's comeback attempts, but not this team. This team answered every goal they gave up with a goal of their own and that is what great teams do. When they are out in front, they stay in front.
Maryland is three wins away from a perfect regular season and if they beat Michigan next weekend, they will have at least a share of the Big Ten title. We are starting to see glimpses of how scary this team will be in the NCAA Tournament as they seek to defend their national title but in order for them to win, they'll have to show more than glimpses and they'll have to do it for 60 minutes.