After taking nearly 38 minutes to score against No. 6 Virginia on Friday, No. 4 Maryland field hockey wasted no time on Sunday against James Madison.
Just over a minute into the game, the Terps drew a penalty stroke. Unlike Maryland’s first two penalty strokes of the year that were taken by junior captain Bodil Keus, sophomore midfielder Riley Donnelly, who is typically used as a defender for the Terps, got the nod.
Donnelly pulled back her stick and fired a shot into the bottom left corner of the cage and past the diving Dukes’ goalie Caitlin Nelson to give Maryland (6-1) a 1-0 lead. The sophomore was key for the Terps all afternoon, scoring two goals in the 4-0 victory.
“Ironically, it was Bodil that asked the coaching staff, she just needed a break from it,” coach Missy Meharg said. “We’ve got a good number of women that can make that skill and Riley being one and she’s exceptional.”
Maryland outshot James Madison (2-4), 25 to 11, with 17 of those shots on goal. And the Terps defense made it easy on its keeper, senior Noelle Frost, able to shut down plenty of the Dukes’ opportunities and eliminate any clean looks on goal. Of James Madison’s 11 shots, five were on goal, resulting in hardly any work for Frost.
Following a hard fought game against Virginia, Maryland looked to be back to its dominant way. The Terps put the pressure on the Dukes, constantly on the attack.
The high pressure offense paid off again in the second quarter. Freshman Emma DeBerdine went streaking down the right sideline and crossed it into the circle to senior Kelee Lepage. The senior defender then tapped a pass to fellow senior midfielder Madison Maguire, who snuck the ball past Nelson to extend Maryland’s lead to 2-0.
“It’s always nice to get on the board. What’s really nice is to get the second goal on the board,” Meharg said. “I think that puts people in another mindset in the game — although it shouldn’t, but it does. That’s the reality.”
After the Terps scored another goal in the third quarter, Donnelly got another chance on a penalty shot. The midifielder replicated her first attempt, aiming for the bottom left corner of the cage. This time the shot was deflected by Nelson, but it still had enough power to get past the junior to give Maryland a secure 4-0 lead, that would seal the victory.
“I think taking strokes, more than anything is really a mental game,” Donnelly said. “I just try to tell myself that I’m just at practice, taking strokes, and just go from there.”
Three things to know
1. Nelson made it tough on the Terps. Junior keeper Caitlin Nelson put her goalkeeping skills on display. Prior to this game, the junior had allowed 12 goals through her four games, but she seemed to be much better today. Nelson posted an impressive seven saves in the first half alone, and finished the game with 13 total against Maryland’s 17 shots on goal.
“Usually when goalkeepers are shorter, they’re very, very quick.” Meharg said. “So you want to make sure that you move them, so that’s what we were focusing on. ... We’re still a work in progress when it comes to discipline inside the circle, so we’re gonna keep working hard on that.”
2. Maryland got loads of players in the game. With a commanding lead, coach Missy Meharg was able to get a widespread of players some time on the field. The Terps used 13 players off the bench, including sophomore Skye Joegriner getting some time in the goal. But the keeper only had to face one shot, resulting in the sixth win of the season.
3. The Terps defense was dominant. After allowing 15 shots (9 on goal) to Virginia, Maryland was back to its usual form. The Terrapins recorded their third shutout of the season, while they only allowed five shots on goal. With Maryland’s tough defense, keeper Noelle Frost only had to make four saves. However, Maryland didn’t show its usual discipline on the defensive end, allowing five corners to the Dukes.
Editors note: Testudo Times apologizes for not having this article out sooner. We had the article ready to be published as soon as the game ended, but the site was having technical difficulties that wouldn’t allow the article to be published. We were working all day with SB Nation’s staff to fix the issues.