About five minutes into the second quarter, No. 7 Maryland field hockey and No. 21 UMass were tied at zero.
After it looked like midfielder Julianna Tornetta was going to get on the board first for the Terps, her shot hit the outside of the cage but Maryland wasted no time. A few minutes later, junior forward Margot Lawn had the ball in the circle. After getting around her defender, Lawn moved around, took a shot toward the near post where Donnelly was positioned perfectly to deflect the ball over UMass goalie Marlise van Tonder’s pads to put the Terps up, 1-0.
In a defensive-heavy matchup, Donnelly’s goal proved to be the sole score of the game securing the 1-0 victory for the Terps as they advanced to 3-1 on the season winning their first game of the Terrapin Invitational.
“We’re working hard on improving our penalty corners,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “So, I’m optimistic that it’ll pay off soon. So I’m happy with a 1-0 victory.”
The Terrapins returned home to take on the Minutewomen in their third consecutive matchup versus a ranked opponent. The UMass Minutewomen came into this matchup with an unblemished 4-0 record, as they looked to continue their undefeated season with a statement victory over the Terps.
Maryland used their defensive pressure from the onset to force the Minutewomen into early mistakes. Less than three minutes into the game, the Terps drew a penalty corner. However, defender Riley Donnelly’s shot was deflected away, as Maryland failed to register a goal.
Maryland has been struggling to convert their penalty corners into goals, as it was 0-7 in its last contest and the trend continued as the Terps missed three goal opportunities on corners in the first half.
“It’s good to get the kinks out with the penalty corners out in the beginning of the season, so we’re able to continue to work on improving that area of our game.” Defender Rayne Wright said.
In Maryland’s other two corners of the game, which took place about a minute apart from each other, they could not capitalize. The Terps’ second corner hit the post and the third Maryland had two opportunities to score but the first shot they took was blocked and the third went wide.
The game began in a defensive battle during the first quarter as both teams were trying to identify cracks in each other’s defense, however, neither could breakthrough as the first frame ended scoreless for both teams.
Maryland’s defense continued to stand strong in the first quarter allowing the Minutewomen to take zero shots in the first 15 minutes of play.
“We are a very athletic team and we try to let our great athletes play in space and generate as much pressure as possible on defense. “ head coach Missy Meharg said.
It was not until Donnelly broke through five minutes into the second quarter to put the Terps up, 1-0 that either team could get past its opposing defense.
Throughout the rest of the half, Maryland allowed UMass to take six shots, one on goal. However, the Terps’ defensive unit led by goalkeeper Noelle Frost did not let up allowing none of the shots to break through as Frost only had to make one save in the first half.
In the second half, the Minutewomen were looking to respond to Donnelly’s goal and drew five corners, all of which were blocked by Maryland’s defense.
The third quarter was similar to the first in that both teams came out of it scoreless. Maryland once again struggled to find the back of the cage on corners as it went 0-3 in the third frame.
“The UMass goalie just returned from Tokyo and that goes to show you that she’s an Olympic-caliber goalie for her club,” Meharg said.
The Terps added eight more shots in the third frame but UMass’ defense continued to bring the pressure, not allowing Maryland to convert any of those shots into goals. Maryland’s defense on the other hand allowed the Minutewomen to take zero shots during the third frame.
After a defensive battle in the third, both teams were looking to breakthrough in the fourth quarter but once again, Maryland’s defense stifled UMass.
Maryland’s offense took control of the entire game, by consistently pushing the pace and creating scoring opportunities. While Maryland was unable to turn their shots into goals, the Terps offense was able to get their shots in the interior.
In a game dominated by defense, aside from Donnelly’s goal, neither team could break through again as the Terps walked away with the victory.
Three things to know
1. The Terps continue to struggle to convert on penalty corners. Going back to its matchup against Duke, Maryland is now 0-for-16 on penalty corners. Maryland has been unable to capitalize on its corners over the past two games however, the Terps’ talented offense has found other ways to score while Maryland’s defense has continued to stay strong.
2. Maryland’s defense continues to leave its mark on the game. The Terps applied maximum defensive pressure to the UMass offense. Maryland has been stifling opponents the past two games with defensive pressure and forcing opponents into defensive traps. Maryland has now had two consecutive shutouts, both against ranked opponents. The Terps’ defense unit allowed just one shot in the final 30 minutes of play.
3. Maryland outshot UMass. To finish the game, the Terps outshot the Minutewomen, 23-11. The Terps offensive attack remains potent as they have been able to send scoring threats in waves at its opponents in multiple ways. 11 different Maryland players had shots against UMass and seven different players took shots on goal.