With No. 4 Maryland field hockey just over two minutes into the overtime period against No. 2 Northwestern, the Terps were on the run searching for the game-winning goal.
Maryland graduate midfielder Danielle Van Rootselaar used nifty stick skills to maneuver her way down the field. As the Brown transfer approached the net, she fired a low shot that entered the cage for the winner, her second straight game-winning goal against a top-five team in the nation.
Maryland squeaked out a 2-1 victory over Northwestern, last year’s national champion, in Evanston, Illinois, on Sunday afternoon. The Terps moved to 11-1 on the season and a perfect 6-0 in Big Ten play. If there was any doubt before, Maryland proved itself as a national title contender.
The game started with both teams exercising patience on offense, as they moved the ball around with sharp and crisp passes.
Maryland and Northwestern were playing impressively on defense, as they used lateral agility to stay in front of the stick.
Just over two minutes into the opening quarter, Northwestern looked to get on the board early in its second conference home game in three days.
The Wildcats were assessed a penalty corner and they made Maryland pay for its defensive error. Northwestern fifth-year forward Bente Baekers swung a wide shot into the cage that deflected off Maryland sophomore goalie Paige Kieft’s hand for a goal. Baekers’ goal gave Northwestern an early 1-0 lead.
Only 72 seconds later, Maryland responded with a goal of its own. The Terps received two consecutive penalty corners, and they made the second chance count.
Van Rootselaar fired a strong shot that slithered its way past the shoulders of Northwestern goalie Annabel Skubidz for the equalizer, evening the game at one.
The Brown transfer scored both of Maryland’s goals in its prior game, a 2-1 overtime victory over Iowa.
After trading opening goals, both teams managed to play strong defense, only allowing a combined four shots in the first quarter.
With fewer than eight minutes remaining until halftime, Maryland senior defender Margot Lawn sprinted out in transition looking for a scoring opportunity. Lawn shifted to her right then stumbled to her knees, as she fired an off-balance shot. Skubidz swatted Lawn’s shot away from the cage and kept the game tied.
The second quarter was relatively quiet, as both teams were unable to score the go-ahead goal.
Coming out of intermission, the two Big Ten elites continued their strong run of playing stingy defense.
Both teams received third quarter penalty corners, but their shots were wide of the cage.
Maryland had a dominant fourth quarter – outshooting the Wildcats 10-4 and forcing Skubisz to make six saves in the period – but could not get the job done in regulation. That wouldn’t last long into overtime, though, as Van Rootselaar played the hero to pick up an exceptional weekend sweep over two top-five teams.
The Terps, who are now clearly cemented as the Big Ten’s best and one of the nation’s elite, will return to College Park on Friday for a date with the Indiana Hoosiers at 6 p.m.
Three things to know
1. Maryland’s offense shouldered another large load with Hope Rose missing her second consecutive game. The Terps were short-handed for another game, as star sophomore forward Hope Rose missed her second straight game with an undisclosed injury. Maryland, however, has one of the deepest offensive attacks in the country. Graduate midfielder Danielle Van Rootselaar scored the equalizer in the first quarter, which marked her third goal in three quarters going back to Friday’s game against Iowa. The Terps offense recorded 24 shots — 15 on goal — and displayed their knack for firing several scoring attempts at the cage.
2. The Terps defense showed resilience by not sweating after relinquishing the opening goal. Despite allowing a Northwestern goal not three minutes into Sunday’s game, Maryland managed to shut out the Wildcats for the remaining 57:10 of regulation and kept them out of the cage in overtime as well. The Terps’ defense has been superb this season — holding opponents to one or fewer goals in seven contests — and displayed its tenacity in a top-four matchup.
3. Maryland graduate midfielder Danielle Van Rootselaar records her second consecutive game-winning goal. For the second consecutive game, Maryland went to overtime against a top-five team in the country, and for the second straight game, Maryland won on a game-winning goal from Danielle Van Rootselaar. Maryland had two huge tests heading into the weekend to prove its case as one of, if not the best team in the country. The Terps passed both tests and should see its national ranking rise even more this week.