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No. 9 Maryland field hockey vs. No. 20 Saint Joseph’s preview

The Terps look to start their regular season off with a win.

UMTerps

No. 9 Maryland field hockey will take on the No. 20 ranked Saint Joseph’s Hawks on Sunday at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park, Maryland.

Maryland will look to open its season with a victory after their season-opening match versus UMass Lowell was canceled during the game due to inclement weather conditions.

The Hawks visit College Park after defeating Fairfield on Friday with a resounding 4-0 victory at Ellen Ryan Field.

The start of Saint Joseph’s match versus Fairfield was delayed by 45 minutes also due to lightning in the area. However, the lightning subsided and that allowed the Hawks to play their season opener to establish a winning foundation for the 2021 season.

These two teams are familiar with one another after Maryland defeated Saint Joseph’s in the 2019 NCAA Tournament 4-0. The last time Saint Joseph’s visited College Park was in 2017 when they were defeated by a score of 2-1.

Maryland leads the all-time series versus Saint Joseph’s with a 4-0 record. The Terps look to go 1-0 on the season, as the Saint Joseph’s Hawks are looking to pull off the upset on the road in College Park.

Sunday’s game is set to start at 2 p.m. and will air on BTN Plus.

Now let’s look at the Saint Joseph Hawks.

Saint Joseph’s Hawks

2019 record: 5-3 (3-1 Atlantic 10)

The Hawks are led by four-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year Lynn Farquhar, who’s returning for her eighth season at the helm for Saint Joseph’s. Farquhar has made her presence failed since arriving at Saint Joseph’s, by claiming four Atlantic 10 regular-season titles and three Atlantic 10 championships.

Farquhar led the Hawks to an impressive Atlantic 10 appearance last season, amid a season that was severely altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saint Joseph’s astonishing head coach makes her way back to the DMV, as she is an Alexandria, Virginia native and a 2005 graduate of Old Dominion University. Farquhar has completely turned around the field hockey program at Saint Joseph’s since her arrival on campus in 2013.

Players to know

Anna Miller, junior forward, No. 33 — Miller is the returning leading scorer for the Hawks, as she scored six goals last season. She started in all eight games last season, while also registering the most points on the season with 14. Miller has a knack for scoring and attacking opponents’ defense, as she is credited with 25 shots in her sophomore season.

Katy Benton, junior midfielder, No. 20 — Benton lead the Hawks in assists last season, registering 4 in last year’s abbreviated season. In the season-opening victory versus Fairfield, Benton recorded another assist to contribute to the Hawks’ season-opening victory. She is a stat sheet stuffer and contributes in multiple ways to her team’s success. Benton was also tied for first for logging the most minutes played last season.

Cassidy Atchison, graduate student midfielder, No. 19 – Atchison returns for her graduate season and brings a wealth of experience to the Hawks. Last season, Atchison recorded 19 shots in eight games. In Friday’s opener, the Virginia Beach native recorded an assist en route to Saint Joseph’s dominating victory over Fairfield.

Strength

Offense. The Hawks employ an aerial attack that must be accounted for. They send scorers and send them in waves at their opponents to score early and often throughout the contest. Miller is the leader of the Hawks’ prolific offense as she puts massive pressure on opponents’ goalies with her aggressive approach. Saint Joseph’s is averaging 17 shots per game and is looking for ways for its offense to impose its will on its opponents. The Hawks are averaging an impressive 64.7% with their shot on goal percentage, hence why are they are so potent offensively.

Weakness

Saves. With only one game under its belt, Saint Joseph’s goalie has yet to be battle-tested. Against Fairfield, junior goalkeeper Robin Bleekemolen had just two saves as the Stags took three shots and finished the game shut out. Although this is a signal of Saint Joseph’s ability to dominate the game, the No. 9 Terps will attack the goal more and Bleekemolen’s lack of opportunities against to Fairfield to make saves may result in the Terps being to capitalize.

Three things to watch

1. Can Maryland limit Saint Joseph’s offense? Saint Joseph’s offense provides an array of problems for their opponents because it possesses several players who can contribute in an abundance of ways to create instant offense for the Hawks. Maryland’s defense will have to clamber to the ball to limit the opportunities for the Hawks’ offense to score.

2. Can the Terps offense generate enough penetration versus the Hawks’ opportunistic defense? Midfielder Brooke DeBerdine’s and forward Bibi Donraadt’s aggressive and slashing playing style should help get inside the defense and attack the Hawk’s net, so they can create scoring opportunities for themselves and their teammates. The talented duo should look for ways to change the tempo, to put pressure on the favorable defense of the Hawks.

3. Will the Terps protect home field versus their first ranked opponent? Maryland’s season opener was short-lived, as inclement weather forced the game to ultimately be canceled. The Terps will look to start this season off with a victory at home, in front of a highly anticipated crowd at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park, Maryland.