With just over a minute remaining in the first half, Michigan field hockey midfielder Guadalupe Fernandez Lacort juggled the ball along Maryland’s baseline, evading two Maryland defenders.
Fernandez Lacort weaved her way to the side of the goal and slapped a shot past Maryland senior keeper Noelle Frost to take a 1-0 lead.
Although it was the only goal of the game for No. 9 Michigan (11-3, 4-1 Big Ten), the Terps were unable to overcome the tally and fell 1-0 for their second loss of the season.
“We ran into a wall for 60 minutes. They were just so aggressive. We found our flow on numerous occasions, to put ourselves into position” coach Missy Meharg said. “But I think one of the biggest things we learned is, it is possible to play sustained pressure and sustained hockey for 60 minutes, and Michigan did that.”
For No. 2 Maryland (13-2, 5-1), it was just the second time all season that it would be trailing going into the third quarter, with the first time coming against then-No. 3 Duke that would result in the team’s first loss of the season.
In this top-ten matchup, it was a game of few scoring opportunities early on. Both teams missed on many opportunities, but Michigan’s lone goal would be good enough for the victory.
Maryland outshot Michigan 10-5, but the Wolverines made the only shot that mattered. In addition to outshooting the Wolverines, the Terps also had three penalty corners, but they were not able to score on any of them.
“We were outplayed throughout the game.” Meharg said. “I know the statistics show differently, some of our shots were sloppy and could’ve been equalizers or maybe go up, ... At times I was happy to be in it as much as we were. We had some really sustained hockey at the end of the second quarter and then the third.”
With just nine minutes remaining in the game, Maryland had a penalty corner opportunity to score the equalizer. The ball was inbounded to sophomore midfielder Linda Cobano, who slapped a clean shot but was saved by Michigan sophomore keeper Anna Spieker.
In the 23rd minute, senior midfielder Meg Dowthwaite stole the ball from junior defender Bodil Keus in Maryland’s own half. She streaked into the circle and was taken down by a couple of defenders, resulting in a penalty stroke for the Wolverines. Dowthwaite stepped up for the shot and ripped it wide left of the goal to keep things scoreless.
While the Terps were trailing, they continued to have a tough time penetrating Michigan’s defense. After getting four shots in the second quarter, it looked like the offense was starting to pick up. But in the second half, it continued to struggle.
In the third quarter, the Wolverines put the pressure on Maryland early and often. Michigan was able to keep the ball on Maryland’s half and limit the Terps’ offensive chances. In the quarter, Maryland only totaled two shots, while just one was on goal.
For the final five minutes of the game, Meharg opted to pull Frost out of goal for an additional attacker. However, the strategy wasn’t enough as Maryland was held scoreless for just the second time this season.
“I think the lesson for us is again, to be resilient every second that you have the opportunity to compete, and Michigan is a really good team” Meharg said.
Three things to know
- Maryland’s back was against the wall. For the first time since Sept. 8, the Terps were trailing entering the second half. The last time it happened was against then-No. 3 Duke, where Maryland was shutout and lost 1-0. Things ended similarly in this matchup as the Terps’ offense couldn’t put a goal on the board and were blanked for the second time this season.
- The Terps’ winning streak comes to an end. After 10 straight victories, Maryland’s streak was halted by the Michigan in Ann Arbor. Not only have the Terps been playing their best over that stretch, but they have also been historically good against Michigan. Coming into this game, Maryland owned a 6-1 record against Michigan since joining the Big Ten in 2014. This is Michigan’s first win against Maryland since 2017, where the Wolverines came out on top once again in Ann Arbor.
- Maryland had a ton of missed opportunities. After a slow offensive start in the first quarter, the offensive chances gradually came to Maryland as the game went on. At the end of the game, Maryland totaled 10 shots, while four of them were on goal. The Terps also received three corners, but were unable to convert.