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No. 8 Maryland field hockey vs. No. 3 Rutgers preview

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Rutgers is Maryland’s second-highest ranked team that it will play this season.

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics
UMTerps

The No. 8 Maryland Terrapins are on the road for a top-10 Big Ten showdown with the No. 3 Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Friday at the Bauer Track and Field Complex in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Maryland (9-4) is coming off a brilliant defensive performance in a 3-0 victory over James Madison back on Oct. 10.

The Terps played complimentary field hockey throughout the contest, only relinquishing three shots to the Dukes while earning 12 penalty corners and recording 24 shots in their victory.

Rutgers (10-2) is coming off an impressive 1-0 road victory over fellow Big Ten member No. 4 Penn State. The Scarlet Knights have found great success playing at home, earning a 3-1 record at their home complex.

With a victory over Rutgers, Maryland’s legendary head coach Missy Meharg would earn her 600th career victory at Maryland in a career that includes seven national championships and 19 Final Four appearances.

Maryland leads the all-time series versus Rutgers, with a flawless 10-0 record.

The game begins at 3 p.m. and can be streamed on BTN Plus. Now let’s look at the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

2020 record: 9-6 (5-3 Big Ten)

Rutgers is led by its head coach Meredith Civico, who’s returning for her 10th season as the helm of the Scarlet Knights field hockey program.

Over Civico’s first nine seasons, she has earned 84 victories and one NCAA Tournament appearance during her time in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Civico was named the 2021 Big Ten Co-Coach of the Year after a 9-5 record and four top-10 victories under her belt. Her team earned two victories apiece, defeating the No. 4 Northwestern Wildcats and No. 9 Penn State.

Since 2004, Rutgers has earned 19 ranked victories. While 16 of the 19 victories have transpired in the past four seasons.

The Scarlet Knights have already registered five Big Ten victories this season, marking the field hockey program’s best achievement since joining the Big Ten in 2014.

Players to know

Milena Redlingshoefer, senior midfielder, No. 27 — The do-it-all senior leads Rutgers in assists, dishing out eight dimes while recording four goals on the season. Redlingshoefer is an aggressive midfielder who must be accounted for, as she has amassed 32 shots on the season. The German native has been one of Rutgers’s consistent contributors on offense, recording 15 shot-on-goals this season for Rutgers.

Kerrie Burns, senior back, No. 16 — Burns is in a four-way tie for the lead in goals for Rutgers, with a respective four goals on the season. The immensely talented senior has also chipped in three assists, nine shots, and seven shot-on-goals for her senior campaign. Burns contributes in multiple ways and looks for opportunities to pressure the opponents’ cage.

Gianna Glatz, senior goalie, No. 1 — Glatz has been outstanding in protecting the net for Rutgers, only allowing a shocking 10 goals this season. The Medford, New Jersey native has recorded 28 saves and a respectable 73.7% save percentage, this season for Rutgers. The defensive stalwart was named the Co-Defensive Player of the Week, for her exceptional performance in Rutgers victory over No. 4 Penn State. Glatz registered a shutout and an impressive eight saves in the victory over the Nittany Lions on Oct. 8.

Strengths

Penalty corners. The Scarlet Knights have done an outstanding job earning penalty corners, as they are outscoring their opponents with an imposing 87 to 45 advantage. Rutgers has been outstanding in generating extra scoring opportunities for its modest offense. By generating penalty corners at a high clip, Rutgers can get more favorable shots at their opponents’ cage.

Weakness

Goals. Rutgers is a top-five team that has enjoyed great success this season on the field, but they have yet to put an offensive explosion on display. The Scarlet Knights are currently averaging 2.25 goals per game, while also averaging 13.1 shots per game. For a national championship contender not being able to score in bunches, it is a topic of concern given that Rutgers has two top-20 teams remaining on its schedule.

Three things to watch

1. Can Maryland keep its road streak alive? Maryland is currently 4-0 away from College Park, picking up victories against No. 23 Duke, Indiana, and American. This is Maryland’s first matchup versus a top-five team in Rutgers on the road and the Terps will look to secure their first victory versus a team ranked within the top-five.

2. Will Maryland’s defense create opportunities for its electric offense? Maryland’s defense is a well-oiled machine when they are making timely rotations and getting into the passing lane to generate steals to get the ball back to its electric offense. The Terps have 13 players on their roster who have registered at least one goal, speaking to their offensive depth and ability to keep constant pressure on opponents’ goalie.

3. Can Maryland secure a victory to catapult them for the home stretch of the season? The Terps will look to get a much-needed top-10 victory over a quality opponent in Rutgers, before welcoming No. 17 UConn to College Park on Sunday. Maryland will face four ranked opponents out of its last five games of the season and it will look to finish the season strong before preparing for the Big Ten and NCAA Tournament.