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No. 8 Maryland field hockey vs. No. 2 Michigan preview

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The Terps search for their 12th win of the season.

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics
UMTerps

No. 8 Maryland field hockey goes on its final road trip of the season with a highly-anticipated Sunday matchup with the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines at Phyllis Ocker Field Hockey Field in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Maryland (11-5) is coming off of a well-rounded 4-0 victory over Michigan State on Friday. The Terps were aggressive on both ends early and often, registering shots and frequently getting their playmakers in position to cause havoc on the defensive end. Four different Terps scored goals in their victory showcasing their depth and versatility.

Michigan (13-1) is having a phenomenal season, even after an impressive 3-0 home victory versus the No. 3 Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The Wolverines have taken care of business all season and have yet to surrender a loss on their home turf.

Maryland dropped the season series to Michigan last year, with narrow victories on Apr. 10 and April 11. The Terps will look to defeat its first top-five opponent this season and give the Wolverines their first defeat at home before concluding its season on Oct. 29.

The game is set to start at 1 p.m. and will be aired on BTN+.

No. 2 Michigan Wolverines 13-1 (5-1 Big Ten)

2020 record: 15-3 (6-0 Big Ten)

The Michigan Wolverines are led by their head coach Marcia Pankratz, who’s in her 22nd season at the helm of the field hockey program in Ann Harbor. Pankratz has earned a 317-137 record throughout her tenure leading the Wolverines program. The head coach has led Michigan to 10 Big Ten regular-season titles and back-to-back conference championships in 2010 and 2011.

Last season, Pankratz led Michigan to one of its best seasons in program history, with a 15-3 record. Despite playing in the midst of a pandemic season, the coach led Michigan to one of the greatest seasons in program history sweeping the entire Big Ten conference last season en route to a Big Ten championship. Michigan had an outstanding postseason before suffering a loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels in the National Championship last season.

This season, Michigan is experiencing its usual success dropping just one game on the season. On Oct. 15, the Wolverines fell to No. 1 Iowa, 2-1, in a shootout. SInce then, Michigan collected back-to-back wins over Indiana and then-No. 3 Rutgers.

Players to know

Sofia Southam, senior midfielder, No. 8 — The electric scoring midfielder leads Michigan in goals on the season recording 16 goals in her senior campaign. Southam is one of the explosive athletes in all of the Big Ten, ranking fourth in shots in the conference with 44 shots. The Argentina native is clutch in crucial situations, tied for second in the conference in game-winning goals with four goals to close the show for Michigan.

Kathryn Peterson, senior midfielder, No. 27 — Peterson has started in every game this season for the Wolverines while being in a tie for second on goals for the Wolverines with five goals registered. The unselfish San Diego native has also placed sixth in the Big Ten in assists, recording seven assists this season.

Anouk Veen, sophomore midfielder, No. 23 — Veen has appeared in every game this season for the Wolverines, while also recording five goals for the Wolverines. The Netherlands native is always looking to be aggressive as evidenced by her 30 shots recorded on the season. The slashing midfielder is a critical member of a dominating Michigan offensive attack that has shown up and shown out this season.

Strength

Goals/shots. Michigan has been arguably the best team in the country all season with its ability to outscore its opponent by a wide margin. The Wolverines are outscoring their opponents in every quarter this season and have 54 to 14 scoring advantage this season. Michigan has been applying pressure to opponents’ cage this season outscoring its counterparts in shots with a very wide 250 to 96 advantage.

Weakness

None. For a team with only one loss, it’s difficult to find a true weakness in its attack. The Wolverines have forced opposing goalies to make 103 saves while they have recorded just 40 saves with a nearly unblemished 13-1 record. Michigan’s ability to generate a high number of shot attempts forces opponents’ goalie to guard every inch of the cage.

Three things to watch

1. Can Maryland hand Michigan its first loss at home? This season, Phyllis Ocker Field Hockey Field hasn’t been a successful place for teams to visit. Michigan is a perfect 6-0 when playing on its field. It will take a complete game for the Terps to pull off the upset on the road.

2. Will the Terps get off to a fast start to unleash their explosiveness? Maryland is a force when its offense is able to ignite its offensive aggressiveness from the initial whistle. The Terps showcased their unlimited potential in the first half of their recent victory over Michigan State. Maryland was able to register a great number of shots in the first half, then proceeded to suffocate the Spartans on defense. It is important for the Terps to get off to a good start on the road to pressure the Wolverines from the get-go.

3. How will Maryland close out its season? Following the Terps matchup with the Wolverines, the Terps will conclude their season with an Oct. 29 matchup with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Maryland will honor seniors Bibi Donraadt, Riley Donnelly, Mayv Clune, and Taylor Mason for its last home game before the Big Ten tournament.