No. 9 Maryland field hockey opens the season against the UMass Lowell River Hawks at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park on Friday.
For the first time since 2019, fans are permitted to attend games and provide players with a greatly appreciated sense of normalcy and devoted support.
“Oh my gosh, yes, we miss our fans so much,” midfielder Kyler Greenwalt said about playing back in front of the home crowd.
The game will take place at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex at 3 p.m. and will air on BTN Plus.
Now, let’s look at the River Hawks from UMass Lowell.
UMass River Hawks
2019 record: 7-5 (5-3 America East)
The River Hawks are led by head coach Shannon Leblanc, who is entering her 19th season at the helm of UMass Lowell. Leblanc has accumulated an impressive career record of 245- 135 (.645) and is the winningest coach in her alma mater’s program history.
Leblanc’s team will be looking to build on last season's success, as her team’s season was cut short as they were defeated in the American East semifinals by the Monmouth Hawks 4-1.
UMass Lowell visits College Park for the first time in program history while looking to improve its record on the road from last season’s 1-4 away record.
Players to know
Berbel Rozema, junior midfielder/forward, No. 15 – Rozema returns to the team this year as the player who took the most shots a year ago, registering 26 in her sophomore campaign. Last season, Rozema did everything for the River Hawks: scoring, assisting and shooting. She ranked in the top 10 for shots, shots on goal percentage, assists and points in the American East Conference.
Kate Miller, junior midfielder, No. 1 — Miller appeared in all 12 games last season and was ranked ninth in the American East conference in game-winning goals. Miller was the second leader in shots on goal percentage last season, with 72.7. She was tied for first in game-winning goals, as she recorded 2 last season.
Jenna Berger, senior midfielder, No. 20 – Berger was tied for first on the team with four goals on the season while recording the second-most points with nine. The Waterloo, Ontario native brings a wealth of experience to this year’s team and will be relied upon heavily to provide a much-needed scoring punch.
Defense. The UMass Lowell River Hawks possess a stingy defense that ranked second in the American East Conference while allowing a mere 1.42 goals per game. Their defense pitched an impressive three shutouts last season and was ranked in the top five in several defensive categories.
Fouls and cards. The River Hawks had the second most fouls and yellow cards in their conference last season, with 35 and three, respectively. UMass Lowell had a whopping 18 penalties in 12 games last season. A lot of their games were decided by the number of fouls and cards they accumulated during the match.
Three things to watch
1. Will Maryland end UMass Lowell’s streak? The Maryland Terrapins will look to start this season off on a good note with a victory at home over the River Hawks. UMass Lowell has won seven consecutive season openers and is looking to make it eight in the team’s first visit to College Park.
2. Can Maryland feed off the energy at home in front of its fans? Fans will make their way to the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Terps should thrive by seeing their fans cheer them on, as they open the season against a team that performed admirably last season.
3. Will Maryland set the tone for a promising 2021 campaign? Maryland would like to protect their home turf by winning their fifth home game in seven attempts in College Park. Legendary head coach Missy Meharg is looking to win her 19th consecutive season opener and make a return to the NCAA tournament, after missing the tournament last season.