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No. 9 Maryland field hockey vs. American preview

The Terps are looking for their third consecutive win.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No. 9 Maryland concludes their two-game road trip with a Sunday afternoon matchup with the American Eagles at The William I Jacobs Recreational Center in Washington, DC.

The Terps are coming off a resounding 8-2 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers, to secure their first victory in the Big Ten this season. Maryland (6-2) received outstanding contributions from several of its talented athletes, as seven Terps managed to score a goal.

American is currently on a four-game winning streak and handily defeated Long Island University on Sept. 24 by a score of 3-0.

Maryland will look to pick up a victory in the Metropolitan area, before welcoming the No. 3 Northwestern Wildcats to College Park on Thursday.

The Eagles are 1-18 all-time against the Maryland program and have yet to earn a victory on its home turf. The last time these teams squared off was on Oct. 29, 2019, when Maryland defeated American 1-0 in a shutout victory.

The game begins at 3 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+.

American Eagles 5-2 (1-0)

2020 record: 4-2 (4-1 Patriot League)

American is led by one of the greatest head coaches in field hockey history in head coach Steve Jennings, who’s returning for his 23rd season in D.C. Jennings’ outstanding career has earned him an exceptional 271-146 record. He also has recorded a dominant 95-17 record in the Patriot League.

In his prolific career, he has led American to nine undefeated seasons, NCAA Tournament appearances and 11 Patriot League championships. Jennings led American to two memorable postseason runs that led to two Elite Eight appearances in 2004 and 2005.

The Maryland graduate also has an impressive nine Patriot League Coach of The Year awards and four top-4 national rankings on his decorated resume.

Players to know

Noor Coenen, graduate midfielder, No. 20 — Coenen comes into the showdown versus No. 9 Maryland, leading the Eagles in goals this season, registering five goals in seven games. The athletic midfielder extensively leads her club in shots, recording 30 shots in the season. The offensive playmaker also paces American in shots on goals, recording 16 this season.

Merel Dupont, junior midfielder, No. 9 — Dupont has appeared in every game for American this season and currently is second on the team in goals, with two goals. The aggressive midfielder has scored on all three of shots this season, showcasing her efficiency to get the ball into the net.

Federica Turina Dellamaggiore, freshman midfielder, No. 13 — The Argentina native has been instrumental in her team’s early-season success, as Dellamaggiore has converted seven shots on goals this season, which ranks second on the Eagles. Dellamaggiore has appeared in five of the seven games and recorded a lone goal on the season.

Strength

Penalty corners. The Eagles have been efficient in drawing penalty corners this season, leading their opponents with a 47-38 margin in the category. American is outstanding at generating opportune scoring chances that create challenges for opposing defenses. If Maryland wants to collect its seventh victory of the season, it will have to make it a priority to limit the penalty corners that it gives up come Sunday.

Weakness

Converting goals off shots. American has been impressive in attempting limitless shots at the cage, but the probability of shots being converted into a goal is not favorable. The Eagles currently have a 14% shot percentage, which is concerning, given they have taken 93 attempts. Maryland’s defense has only given up three or more goals on four separate occasions through eight total games this season, and the Eagles might not be able to break through too often.

Three things to watch

  1. How can Maryland follow up that offensive explosion? In Maryland’s victory over Indiana, the Terps offense was unleashed, as it scored four unanswered goals in the first quarter. Seven different Terps scored a goal and exhibited the quick-strike ability the offense has. Maryland’s offense is loaded with talent that sprints in transition and poses an array of challenges to opponents’ goalie.
  2. Can Maryland’s defense limit Noor Coenen’s effectiveness? Coenen has been the main source of offense for the Eagles, scoring and registering an exorbitant number of attempts at their opponents’ cage. Coenen is only four goals away from being second all-time in goals scored for American and she’ll likely be a major factor on offense against the Terps this weekend.
  3. Will Maryland’s defensive pressure eradicate American’s offense? The Terps have been applying methodical and problematic pressure for their opponents all season, but they seem to have turned the intensity up a notch the past few games. Maryland defender Emma DeBerdine and forward Mayv Clune have done an incredible job with trapping their opponents to the sideline and forcing opportunistic turnovers. The Terps defense applies maximum pressure and looks to use its speed to cause havoc on its opponents.