Coming off a dominating 4-0 victory over Saint Joseph’s, Maryland field hockey will play the No. 3-seeded Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Cavaliers, who have home advantage, have been a top team all season long because of a very balanced offense and a solid defense. The Terps know how good they are from their intense 3-2 shootout victory against the Cavaliers on Sept. 13.
“We know they’re really good,” coach Missy Meharg said. “They’re a very, very fast team. They play a very interesting style. They rotate their forwards and middies a lot in terms of overlapping, so that’s something that we’ll need to look at the video and just play good zone in the midfield.”
Although the Terps came out on top in the first matchup of the season, that doesn’t matter in tourney play and they know that.
“This is gonna be one of the toughest battles that we have because they’re gonna be out for blood,” redshirt sophomore forward Mayv Clune said. “When you take a team into shootouts, it’s one of those things where they definitely will be trying to come out for revenge, so we just gotta fight harder.”
What happened last time
The Virginia Cavaliers traveled to College Park in the early parts of the season to compete in the Terrapin Invitational. This matchup resulted in the only shootout contests played by both teams this season, where the Terps prevailed, 3-2.
It was a back-and-forth affair, as both teams traded goals in the second half of play. Maryland tied things up at 2-2 after a goal by freshman Emma DeBerdine in the 48th minute. Neither team managed to find the back of the net in regulation, which sent the game to overtime and double overtime, but that still wasn’t enough.
In the shootout, sophomore forward Bibi Donraadt took a 4-3 lead and senior keeper Noelle Frost sealed the deal after a sliding kick save poked the ball out of play to capture the win.
What’s happened since
After the victory against Virginia, the Terps went on to win eight straight games, including six over ranked opponents. Maryland has showcased that it is a top team in the country by constantly displaying it’s versatile offense and shutdown defense.
When the Cavaliers faced the Terps, they were 4-0. After suffering its first lost at the hands of Maryland, Virginia finished the season on a 14-3 stretch, bringing its overall record to 17-4. The Cavaliers lost in the semifinals of the ACC tournament, 1-0, against then-No. 9 Boston College. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Virginia beat No. 10 Delaware, 4-1, where the Cavaliers poured on three goals in the final quarter.
Three things to watch
1. It should be a defensive battle between these two teams. Both of these teams rank in the top-10 in the nation in terms of goals allowed. The Terps defense has allowed 0.85 goals per game and they showed it off against St. Joseph’s, where they handed the Hawks their first shutout loss. The Cavaliers have been very good defensively this season, allowing just 1.14 goals per game.
2. Will the Terps be back to full strength? In Maryland’s last game, Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Madison Maguire didn’t play, but redshirt sophomore Mayv Clune stepped up. Clune totaled one goal and one assist in the victory.
On the defensive end, junior defender Hannah Bond left the game after getting hit in the head with a ball on a corner. Meharg said that she was doing fine after the game and she has a cut on her forehead.
3. Can Maryland win in Charlottesville? The Cavaliers are 9-2 on their home turf this year and the only losses came against No. 1 North Carolina and No. 7 Boston College. The last time the Terps traveled to Charlottesville was last season, where they fell 3-1 to the Cavaliers.