Even as No. 7 Maryland field hockey was up 3-0 late in the fourth quarter, the Terps’ quick ball movement continued to be on full display.
With one minute and 40 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, midfielder Julianna Tornetta fired a goal off of a rebound from forward/midfielder Anna Castaldo’s shot to put the game further out of reach, extending Maryland’s lead to 4-0.
Castaldo’s goal was the finishing touch for the Terps en route to their 4-0 victory over the Golden Bears on Sunday afternoon.
As the Terrapins welcomed the California Golden Bears for a Sunday afternoon matchup at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex, the Terps (3-1) were looking to improve its home record to an unblemished 3-0 early in the 2021 season with the Golden Bears coming to College Park for the Terrapin Invitational.
Head coach Missy Meharg’s group features a dynamic and aggressive offense, but their defense has been noticeable in their last two games.
Coming into this matchup, the Terps defense had not allowed a goal in the last 10 quarters.
The first quarter also featured a defense-heavy performance, with each team pushing the tempo and using their talented offenses to apply pressure to each other’s defensive units.
With about three minutes to go in the first quarter, Maryland drew a penalty corner after Cal saved the initial shot, Maryland regained control of the ball.
Midfielder Kyler Greenwalt passed the ball to midfielder Belle Bressler right in front of the cage. As soon as the ball touched Bressler’s stick, she popped the ball up over goalie Cato Knipping’s stick to sink the shot and put Maryland up, 1-0.
Maryland’s defense has been outstanding the past three games, as each game they’ve played, the defensive intensity and relentlessness have gradually increased.
In the first quarter, Maryland allowed Cal to take zero shots while Maryland took six.
The Terps’ speed is difficult to plan for as Tornetta, Mayv Clune and others are constantly able to rally the ball carrier to smother opponents and force them into mistakes.
The second quarter was quiet for both teams as they finished with two shots apiece.
The California Golden Bears registered their first penalty corner with about seven minutes remaining in the first half. However, the Terps blocked the shot, shunning Cal away from tying the game.
Neither team could breakthrough in that second frame as each team registered a save and Cal’s corner was the only one to take place.
Following halftime, the Terps shifted into full gear. Just three minutes into the third quarter, Greenwalt was back to making big plays for Maryland. Greenwalt scored a nimble move in transition as she evaded the goalie and fired a perfect shot in the goal to give the Terps a 2-0 lead.
Barely giving Cal time to regroup, less than four minutes later, it was Castaldo’s turn to get on the board for the Terp. Castaldo fired a beautiful shot from the left side of the field directly into the net to extend the Terps lead to a commanding 3-0.
In the third quarter, Maryland’s defense turned it up a notch, as their defense allowed zero shots for the Golden Bears. Cal came into the game averaging 12.3 shots per game, as they were obviously held well beneath their average.
Maryland ended the game in the fourth quarter, continuing to attack offensively and shut down the Golden Bears when on defense. The Terps finished the day outshooting Cal 24-3. Maryland allowed just one shot in the final frame of the day.
With less than two minutes to go in the game. Tornetta’s goal sealed the deal for the Terps en route to their third consecutive shutout.
Three things to know
1. The Terps have not allowed a goal in their last 14 quarters of play. Maryland’s defense has been absolutely stellar over these past few games, and it has helped the program to a few key wins. The Terps have dropped just one game out of five to start this season. The last three Maryland wins have come as shutouts, with those wins coming against No. 12 Duke, No. 21 UMass and now Cal.
2. Maryland racked up the penalty corners. Penalty corners are something the Terps have been struggling with these last few games. Coming into this matchup, Maryland went 0-for-16 in penalty corners. Additionally, across four games, Maryland recorded 30 penalty corners. On Sunday against the Golden Bears, Maryland finished the day with 13 corners, nearly half the number Maryland drew over four games. Although they did not score off the initial insert on any of the corners, Maryland’s first goal was set up thanks to a rebound and reset off a penalty corner.
3. Maryland’s offense was still dominant en route to the win. The Terps were easily the better offensive team on Sunday afternoon, and the scoreline showed it when all was said and done. Maryland peppered shots on net all game and finished with four goals on 24 shots. In comparison, Cal managed to get only two shots on goal on three attempts. This win for Maryland was the third time in five games that the Terps scored at least three goals.