On a rain-soaked Monday night, No. 8 Maryland field hockey played the comeback game and defeated conference rival No. 9 Michigan 3-2 in overtime.
Coming off a weekend where the Terps’ six-game winning streak was snapped by No. 11 Northwestern, this was a must-win game for Maryland. It was also the team’s fifth straight game against ranked opposition.
In the first period, Maryland controlled possession early on and had several good chances, including freshman midfielder Madison Maguire, who caught Michigan goalie Sam Swenson off her line, but her shot was blocked by a Wolverine defender.
Despite those chances, it would be Michigan, and Carly Bennett, who would strike first in the 18th minute. In a goal-line scramble, the forward scored her fourth goal of the season.
Right after, Terps coach Missy Meharg made a bold move, replacing goalie Sarah Holliday with Sarah Bates.
“She [Holliday] looked off-balance and she looked a little struggling.” said Meharg
From then, the Wolverines were injected with a new burst of energy, taking over possession for the rest of the half.
The Terps’ best chance of the second period came with under a minute left. They had a free-in chance, but the attempt was deflected out, leaving the team goalless at the half.
In the locker room, Meharg re-energized the team for the second half.
“We made some subtle adjustments with how we were putting pressure on their backfield,” said Meharg.
It wouldn’t take long for the Terps to equalize, as defender Grace Balsdon scored her 10th goal of the season in the 44th minute.
“Grace is a world-class player,” said Meharg.
Though Maryland continued to press Michigan, the Wolverines would once again take the lead on Meg Dowthwaite’s 2nd goal of the season in the 54th minute.
The Terps continued to press, and in the 60th minute, Maryland would again equalize on Welma Luus’ eighth goal of the season.
Despite a back-and-forth contest the rest of the period, the game remained 2-2 at the end of regulation, forcing Maryland’s first overtime game of the season.
In overtime, the Terps continued to press and boss possession, and less than four minutes in, Emma Rissinger’s diving goal sealed the win for Maryland.
“It was just like relief, like now it’s over and we won,” said Rissinger.
Though this was Maryland’s first overtime game of the season, Rissinger said the team was more than prepared.
“We actually practice it [overtime] pretty often, how the structures are gonna be, and the corners, so I think we were really prepared for it,” she said.
Overall, Maryland (8-3, 3-1 B1G) outshot Michigan (7-3, 2-2 B1G) 20-15, and had six penalty corners to the Wolverines’ five.
A bright spot in the win was redshirt junior goalie Sarah Bates, who played a career-high 54 minutes and made 6 saves. As expected, she was quite surprised about her extended game time, but she took advantage of it.
“I was very nervous, obviously, because that’s the most I’ve ever played, but it’s been a long time waiting.” said Bates.
As the backup goalie, Bates said that it’s difficult to come off the bench, but she’s become accustomed to it and has performed well under the circumstances.
“It’s very tough. As a goalie, you don’t know when you’re gonna go in. You’re a student of the game on the sidelines, so it’s just constantly thinking and educating yourself, so when the time comes, you’re ready to go in,” said Bates.
Maryland’s next game is against No. 14 Old Dominion next Tuesday at home. Following that, the Terps play Michigan State next Friday.
Three Things To Know
- Maryland’s success against ranked opponents continued: This was Maryland’s fifth win against a ranked opponent this season. So far, they are 5-2 in those games. It’s also worth mentioning that this was Maryland’s fourth straight game against a ranked opponent. Old Dominion next Tuesday would be their fifth straight. Not only that, but the Terps have three more games against ranked opponents this season: No. 5 Penn State, No. 1 Connecticut, and No. 12 Virginia.
- Weather was a big factor: The game was played entirely in the rain. The turf surface didn't give an edge to either team, as the ball moved much quicker, and the field itself was slippery. The play was much tougher as normally played balls went farther than usual, several times even going out of bounds.
- Penalty corners and shots win you games: Maryland’s success in the second period was due in large part to the increased number of shots they took and penalty corners they were awarded. In the second period alone, Maryland had 12 shots and 5 penalty corners, compared to Michigan’s 7 shots and 3 penalty corners. Also, Maryland out-shot Michigan in overtime 4-0. The result: a Maryland victory.