With two minutes and 11 seconds remaining in the first overtime period, No. 9 Maryland field hockey’s junior defender Maura Verleg came through late against the No. 18 Princeton Tigers in what was yet another top-25 showdown in College Park.
Verleg took advantage of a golden opportunity and delivered a swift goal off a rebound that left Princeton’s goalie defenseless, as the ball swished through the left side of the net to give Maryland the 4-3 victory in overtime.
Verleg’s first goal of the year was the difference-maker against the Tigers in extra time, as the Terps officially collected their fifth win of the season in seven total games on Tuesday at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.
Maryland (5-2) came into the meeting hoping to respond to the program’s recent heartbreaking overtime loss to No. 8 Penn State last Saturday by looking to take down the Tigers on its home turf. The game with the Tigers was the Terps’ sixth ranked matchup of the 2021 season.
Princeton (2-4) entered the match with a two-game winning streak after defeating the likes of then-No. 17 Delaware and Boston University.
For one of the Terps, there was a bit of a reunion when the program took on Princeton. Terps midfielder Julianna Tornetta had a very decorated career as a member of the Princeton field hockey program.
In the onset of the first quarter, each team’s defense neutralized the offense and stifled areas for shots or goals. It seemed as though neither team was able to break through offensively, as the score remained knotted at zero late in the opening frame.
With under three minutes left in the first quarter, Maryland was assessed its second penalty corner of the game and it took advantage of one of the lone opportunities early on.
Maryland freshman forward Hope Rose sent a swift pass, which got blocked, but Maryland’s star forward Bibi Donraadt rebounded the ball off the block and quickly fired the ball into the right side of the net to give Maryland the early 1-0 advantage.
Princeton responded almost immediately, as its players charged down the field to draw a penalty corner of its own.
The Tigers were scramming for the ball off of a rebound off the penalty corner when Princeton’s Claire Donovan connected on a goal that narrowly got past the outstretched arms of Maryland goalie Noelle Frost to tie the game at one apiece.
Then, early in the second quarter, Maryland junior forward Margot Lawn made an exceptional defensive play, as she stole the ball and immediately got the Terps in transition into enemy territory.
Lawn proceeded to pass the chasing Tigers defenders and she delivered a dazzling pass to the middle of the field to the stick of junior midfielder Emma DeBerdine, as DeBerdine shot the ball directly into Princeton’s cage to give Maryland the 2-1 lead.
But even after the Terps recaptured their lead, it would soon be the Tigers once again who offered a proper response.
Maryland’s defense was completely out of position with just over nine minutes remaining in the second quarter, forcing Frost to move, and she left the net wide open. Princeton immediately capitalized on Maryland’s mistake, as Princeton’s Ali McCarthy utilized a crafty angle and fired a straight shot in the Terps’ wide-open cage to tie the game at two heading into halftime.
Maryland’s defense consistently showcased its athleticism and hustle by relentlessly moving to the ball and trapping its opponent. And while the game remained tied early in the third quarter, even with the Terps’ defensive tenacity, Princeton still found a way to take back the lead.
With five minutes left in the third quarter, Princeton was given a penalty corner. Tigers forward Bridget Murphy, similar to McCarthy’s goal, used a unique angle to evade Frost’s save attempt, as the ball swished through the netting to give Princeton the 3-2 advantage.
Maryland tried to move the ball around on offense in the fourth quarter, searching for areas in the Princeton defense that stood tall for a significant portion of the afternoon. And with just under five minutes to go in the game with defeat closing in, Maryland finally broke through once more to even the game.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, Maryland midfielder Brooke DeBerdine delivered a strong shot to the left side of the net that made it past Princeton goalie Robyn Thompson to tie the game at three.
Maryland and Princeton both continued to fight for a way to score the game-winning goal, but each team was unable to penetrate the tough opposing defenses, as the game went into overtime. The game was Maryland’s second consecutive overtime game.
Verleg then called the game in overtime, as she delivered a goal off of a rebound that swished into the left side of the net to give Maryland the 4-3 overtime victory.
Three things to know
1. Maryland and Princeton’s defense came to play. By the third quarter, both teams had registered just four shots apiece. Maryland’s offense is known for its athleticism and quick-strike ability, so it’s surprising to see the Terps muster a mere four shots through three quarters. However, Maryland increased its shot total to 10 by the end of regulation, even after being shut down offensively for most of the game. Princeton, on the other hand, finished with just six shots on the afternoon in what was a very defensive-minded battle between two of the top teams in the country.
2. There’s no quit in the Terps. With less than five minutes left in regulation, Maryland midfielder Brooke DeBerdine delivered an amazing goal to tie the game and send the game to overtime. DeBerdine got in the middle of the defense and made a beautiful shot that Princeton’s goalie was unable to affect. It seemed all was lost for the Terps, but DeBerdine’s goal proved critical as Maryland went on to eventually capture the win.
3. Maryland has had a fair amount of success early in the season. The Terps have now won five of their first seven games to kick off the 2021 season. Maryland has now faced six ranked teams and has come away with an impressive 4-2 record in those matches. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Terps stay atop of the rankings as one of the best teams in the nation as this season continues.