After No. 5 Maryland field hockey gave up the tying goal against No. 10 Syracuse, it soon had a response that would propel it to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.
The Terps were pushing into dangerous scoring areas on Syracuse’s end of the field, then Emma DeBerdine fired a pass across the front goal from a sharp angle. The ball zipped all the way across the cage, then it found the stick of a wide-open Bibi Donraadt. Donraadt buried the precision pass into the back of the net to give Maryland a 2-1 lead in the final quarter.
Donraadt’s goal would be all the Terps needed to advance to the next round as it eventually captured the 2-1 win in College Park on Sunday afternoon.
On a chilly Sunday afternoon in College Park, the energy was electric at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex as both teams looked to earn a victory and advance to the Final Four in Ann Arbor.
Syracuse's defense looked determined to trap Maryland’s athletes on the perimeter and negate the Terps’ chances of making an outlet pass to exploit mismatches in transition.
Maryland and Syracuse struggled in the first few minutes of the game to identify areas to unleash its collective offensive attack. The Terps’ offense struggled to generate offense, only registering one shot in the opening quarter. However, their defense applied similar pressure holding Syracuse to one shot as well.
The Orange had the first shot on goal but when junior forward Hailey Bitters had the look, she shot it wide as Maryland avoided a deficit early in the game.
A few minutes later with a little over two minutes remaining in the game, freshman forward Hope Rose found Margot Lawn who seemed to be in a position to find the first score of the game. However, as Lawn took the Terps’ first shot of the day, it was saved by freshman goalkeeper Brooke Borzymowski to keep the game knotted at zero.
The first period ended scoreless as it was a defensive battle and the second quarter followed a similar pattern.
Neither team could get off a shot for over five minutes. However, Syracuse had the first opportunity less than two minutes into the second frame. As the Orange tried to get the ball into the middle of the action for its first shot of the quarter, graduate midfielder Kyler Greenwalt intercepted the attempt halting Syracuse’s chance at scoring
The lone shot of the corner came from Rose.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Rose took a shot. However, it was blocked before it could find its way into the cage.
The two teams continued to be locked in a defensive battle as neither team had drawn a penalty corner in the first half and the score was tied at zero after 30 minutes of play.
In the second half, both teams were eager to get on the board first and breakthrough. It was Maryland who ended the tie first.
With just under 13 minutes in the third quarter, Maryland broke through by turning defense into offense.
Greenwalt stole the ball from the Orange and immediately jolted in the opposite direction with a chance to get the Terps on the board. When she got toward the front of the circle, she found Rose right in front of her.
Rose saw a sprinting forward/midfielder in Anna Castaldo across the cage, who entered the heart of the Syracuse defense and delivered a strike into the left side of the cage. Maryland would take the 1-0 lead in the third quarter.
Maryland’s offense increased its aggressiveness with an impressive eight shots at the cage in the third quarter alone.
However, Syracuse wouldn’t give up.
With just over 13 minutes in the fourth quarter, the Orange were assessed a penalty corner where they would find the equalizer.
As Terps goalie Noelle Frost stretched her body to the left to prevent the shot, Syracuse back Eefke Van Den Nieuwenhof sent a shot that went to the wide right side of the cage to even the game at one.
Maryland would respond immediately in a convincing fashion.
With 12 and a half minutes left in the fourth, Tornetta maneuvered the ball into the circle. She made a quick, short pass to DeBerdine who made a winding pass to Donraadt who deflected the ball into the left side of the cage to give Maryland the 2-1 advantage.
The Terps played sound defense and hustled to close out the game to punch their ticket to the Final Four in Ann Arbor next weekend.
Three things to know
1. Both defenses stood tall in the first half. Maryland and Syracuse combined for three shots in the first half in a game that did not see one single goal scored. The score was 0-0 heading into halftime as both offenses were stalled for the first 30 minutes of play.
2. There were no penalty corners in the first half. The Terps are one of the most talented teams in the country with their offensive versatility and aggressiveness. Surprisingly, Maryland did not manage to record one penalty corner in the first half. The Terps came into the game averaging nearly three goals per game, but their lack of offense opened the door for a potential upset. However, Maryland still pulled out the win, despite just finishing with two goals.
3. Maryland punches its ticket to the Final Four in Ann Arbor. Maryland held strong at home with two victories over Virginia and Syracuse. The Terps will now head to the Final Four in Ann Arbor, where they became the first team to defeat the Michigan Wolverines on their home field. This will be the Terps’ first trip to the Final Four since 2018 and the 20th in program history. Maryland will face the winner of Rutgers and Liberty.