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No. 9 Maryland field hockey vs. Indiana preview

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The Terps’ matchup with the Hoosiers will be the program’s second Big Ten game of the season.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No. 9 Maryland field hockey will take its show on the road as it prepares for a Big Ten matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers at the Indiana University Field Hockey Complex at noon.

The Terps (5-2) are coming off of an exhilarating overtime 4-3 victory on Tuesday versus Princeton. Maryland defender Maura Verleg scored a dazzling game-winning goal to give the Terps their fifth victory of the season.

Indiana (5-3) is coming off a game versus Richmond, in which Indiana’s Sydney Keld delivered a goal in the fourth quarter to propel her team to a 1-0 victory. Indiana has lost two out of its last three games and will look to register their first victory over a top-10 ranked opponent.

Since Maryland joined the Big Ten, it is a perfect 8-0 versus the Hoosiers. Maryland will look to secure its first victory in Big Ten play and build off of the momentum of its recent victory.

The game is set to start at noon and will air on the Big Ten Network.

Now let’s look at the Indiana Hoosiers.

Indiana Hoosiers 5-3 (0-1 Big Ten)

2020 record: 1-14 (0-12)

The Indiana Hoosiers are led by head coach Kayla Bashore, who’s returning for her third season at the helm. Bashore is rejuvenating a Hoosiers program that is coming off a season in which they lost every conference game. The Indiana graduate was an exceptional player during her playing career for the Hoosiers. Bashore was the 2005 Big Ten Player of the Year and a three-time first-team All-Big Ten member. The talented coach is looking to establish winning culture with a team filled with several underclassmen.

This season, Indiana went 4-0 before falling to Lafayette on Sept. 5. The Hoosiers picked up two more wins over Bellarmine and Richmond but fell to then-No. 6 Louisville and then-No. 2 Iowa.

Players to know

Kira Curland, freshman midfielder, No. 23 — The talented freshman currently leads the Hoosiers in goals on the season, recording a respective four goals. Curland also leads Indiana in shots, as she has registered 16 shots in eight games. The midfielder from Germany has provided a jolt of energy to her team, in her brief career at Indiana.

Sydney Keld, redshirt sophomore back, No. 4 — Keld is currently tied for second on the team in goals, registering two goals in her brief sophomore campaign. Her athleticism and grit were on full display, as she scored the game-winning goal in the Hoosiers’ recent victory over Richmond. Keld has started all eight games this season and has been a consistent contributor for the Hoosiers.

Hailey Couch, senior forward, No. 5 — The Easton, Pennsylvania native returns for her senior season after only appearing in one game last season. Couch currently has two goals on the season on an impressive 12 shots thus far. The athletic senior has a respectable 66.7% shots on goals percentage. She’s a capable scorer for this Hoosiers’ team and she’ll be an offensive factor to look out for come Friday.

Strength

Shots. Indiana has been consistently aggressive this season with generating shots at a high number in each of their games. The Hoosiers are currently outshooting their opponents with a 100-72 advantage overall. Indiana is an aggressive team that focuses on penetrating the defenses for scoring opportunities. If the Hoosiers can start to put pressure on Maryland’s defense, it could spell trouble for the Terps.

Weakness

Finishing off plays on offense. The Hoosiers come into the season averaging a mere 1.5 goals per game. In a Big Ten conference filled with electric offenses, you must score goals at a high clip to remain near the top of the standings. Indiana hasn’t necessarily been able to do that in its early portion of the 2021 season, and it’s something that Maryland will have to take advantage of.

Three things to watch

1. Will Maryland secure its first Big Ten victory of the season? Maryland will look to earn an important road victory versus a Big Ten foe in the Indiana Hoosiers. The Terps dropped their first conference game to No. 8 Penn State in overtime by a narrow score of 3-2.

2. Can Maryland’s offense continue to dominate? The Terps feature one of the most potent offenses in the country with its depth, speed, and athleticism. Maryland forward Bibi Donraadt currently leads the Terps in goals on the season, registering four goals in seven games. The offensive tenacity of Brooke DeBerdine, Verleg, and others can make the Terps offense virtually unstoppable.

3. Who steps up for Maryland versus Indiana? One of Maryland’s greatest strengths is the depth of athleticism on the roster. Maryland currently has 13 players who have registered a goal this season— strength in numbers. The athleticism and speed are a sight to see, as the Terps are never out any game until the game ends due to the problems they present for their opponents defensively.