After four quarters of field hockey, the highly-anticipated matchup between No. 7 Maryland field hockey and No. 8 Penn State went into seven-on-seven overtime.
Neither team could break through at first until three minutes in, Penn State midfielder Sophia Gladieux fired a swift shot in overtime to give the Nittany Lions the conference victory over Maryland.
The Terps fell to Nittany Lions, 3-2, marking their second loss of the season.
The Maryland Terrapins welcomed the Penn State Nittany Lions to College Park for a Big Ten showdown between two top 10 ranked teams.
The matchup featured two high-powered offenses with the ability to light up the scoreboard, at any given moment. Maryland has been playing shutdown field hockey the past three games, as its defense has pitched three consecutive shutouts.
The game started off with a frantic pace that illustrated why these are not just two of some of the best teams in the Big Ten, but in the country.
The pace and energy at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex was electric, as both teams visibly fed off of the crowd in the blistering heat.
With eight minutes and 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Terps forced a penalty corner.
Coming into the game, Maryland had struggled mightily to convert their penalty corners. Forward Bibi Donraadt inserted the ball on the corner on a pass to defender Maura Verleg, who then delivered a swift pass to midfielder Julianna Tornetta.
Tornetta delivered a missile that swished into the right side of the net, to give the Terps the early 1-0 lead.
Penn State responded almost immediately with a goal of its own as midfielder Mackenzie Allessie penetrated the Maryland defense and delivered a goal that barely got past goalie Noelle Frost knotting the score at one apiece.
Maryland was one-for-three on penalty corners in the opening quarter as it put massive pressure on its opponents’ goalie.
The second quarter featured both teams using their speed and athleticism to seek areas within the defense to attack and generate scoring opportunities. The play in the midfield was fairly clogged on both ends of the field, though, and both teams had to work their way into the scoring zone with precision.
In the second quarter, Frost showed why she is one of the best goalies in the nation, as she laid her body on the line, to prevent two consecutive penalty corners from the Nittany Lions.
Penn State struck again as forward Sophia Gladieux pushed the pace in transition and delivered a jaw-dropping goal that hit the net in the top right corner of Maryland’s cage to give them a 2-1 advantage.
The third quarter featured defensive pressure and each team’s athletes trying to invade their opponents’ cage. Within the first eight minutes of the third quarter, Penn State generated two penalty corners but could not capitalize as Maryland’s defense continued to shut the Nittany Lions down.
The Terps struggled to generate any shots, as they remained at 10 shots for over four minutes in the third quarter. Maryland’s defense was outstanding, as it rejected the Nittany Lions’ attempts not allowing them to extend their lead.
With 13 minutes in the fourth quarter, Maryland earned a penalty corner. Terps midfielder Nathalie Fiechter delivered a wired shot that swished past the defenders and into the Nittany Lions’ cage to tie the score at two apiece.
The fourth quarter between the Terps and Nittany Lions was symbolic of Big Ten field hockey, as both teams hustled and clawed to find ways to give their team the advantage.
Both teams searched for a way to secure a game-winning goal in the waning minutes off of the fourth quarter, but the defensive attention proved to be too much, as the game headed into overtime with a 2-2 score.
With six minutes and 49 seconds remaining in overtime, Gladieux recorded her second goal of the game, as she fired the ball that went to the far right end of the cage to secure the 3-2 victory for the Nittany Lions.
Three things to know:
1. Penn State ended Maryland’s impressive streak of keeping its opponents scoreless. Before falling to Penn State in a thriller, Maryland was on a brilliant defensive streak that dated back to Sept. 5, when the Terps took on Duke. Maryland blanked then-No. 12 Duke, then collected shutouts against then-No. 21 UMass and California. However, Maryland wasn’t able to contain the Nittany Lions on Saturday afternoon. Penn State was able to score twice on the Terps, making it just the second time all season that Maryland conceded at least three goals.
2. Maryland struggled to finish in dangerous areas. The Terps didn't have any major issues creating offense as they ended with 15 shots, with nine of those going on target. The Terps also ended with six penalty corners, just two less than the Nittany Lions’ total. However, despite playing fairly well offensively with a lot of swift ball movement, Maryland wasn’t able to fully capitalize on its chances.
3. The Terps break their penalty corner dry spell. After struggling to convert on penalty corners in recent games, Maryland was finally able to break through on those set pieces on Saturday. Tornetta and Fiechter both scored goals off penalty corners to keep the Terps in the match, however, it wasn't enough for Maryland to get the job done at home.