clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

No. 2 Maryland field hockey at No. 5 Penn State preview

After clinching the Big Ten regular season title, the Terps go for their eighth straight win.

Mackenzie Miles/Maryland Terrapins

No. 2 Maryland field hockey is headed north for a Friday night showdown with No. 5 Penn State at The Penn State Field Hockey Complex on Oct. 21. The game is set for 6 p.m. and will be streamed on Big Ten Plus.

Maryland (14-1) earned a last-minute 4-3 victory over then-No. 20 Rutgers on a goal by graduate midfielder Bibi Donraadt on Saturday. The Terps’ recent triumph clinched their 15th conference championship and their sixth since joining the Big Ten. Head coach Missy Meharg’s club has a seven-game winning streak and is playing complementary hockey down the final stretch.

Penn State (13-2), standing second in the Big Ten, earned its second consecutive shutout in a 3-0 victory over Kent State on Oct. 16. The Nittany Lions, winners of five straight, dominated the competition with a wide scoring margin of 15-2. With a roster loaded with talent and elite coaching, the outcome of their season will be worth monitoring.

The Terps hold a 7-4 series lead over Penn State, with the latter owning a 4-3 advantage in postseason play. Maryland lost to Penn State in both the regular season and postseason last season. The Nittany Lions bounced Maryland from last year’s Big Ten Tournament in the quarterfinals.

A pair of Big Ten powerhouses will compete in a top-10 clash with possible playoff implications on the line. Maryland and Penn State will look to extend their winning streaks while adding another ranked opponent to their resume.

Now, let’s look at the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Penn State Nittany Lions (13-2)

2021 record: 14-6 (6-2 Big Ten)

Charlene Morett-Curtiss enters her 36th season guiding the Penn State field hockey program as the longest-tenured coach in the Big Ten.

The NFHCA Hall of Famer has amassed an impressive 538-225-9 record along with seven Big Ten titles and two national championship appearances.

Morett-Curtiss’ roster is usually loaded with talent and players with versatile skill sets. Since 2018, there have been 20 athletes who have recorded at least eight goals in a season for the Penn State

Under her tutelage, the Nittany Lions have reached the NCAA Tournament in 28 seasons. She also led Penn State to the Final Four on four occasions.

The player-turned-coach was a three-time First Team All-American and is regarded as one of the best players in program history.

Penn State is seemingly in good hands with Morett-Curtiss leading the way and figures to be a team to watch in the NCAA Tournament.

Players to know

Sophia Gladieux, junior forward, No. 3 — Gladieux is second in the Big Ten with 18 goals on the season. Her 85 shots are second in the conference, one ahead of Maryland graduate midfielder Danielle Van Rootselaar. In her three years with the program, she has recorded at least 10 goals in each season. The 2021 NFHCA Mideast Regional Player of the Year recorded a hat trick in Penn State’s 4-0 victory over Indiana on Oct. 2 and is a force in transition, with elite quickness and a shot that is difficult to defend. When the game is on the line, Gladieux’s talent shines the brightest. She scored the game-winning goal in Penn State’s 2-1 double-overtime victory over Lafayette on Oct. 9.

Mackenzie Allessie, senior midfielder, No. 2 — The senior midfielder has recorded 10 goals in her senior campaign, one more than last season’s total of nine. She recorded the opening goal in Penn State’s 4-0 victory over Indiana, which marked the beginning of the Nittany Lions’ current five-game winning streak. Allessie is a willing passer, as she leads the Big Ten with 12 assists — one of three players ranked in the top 10 in goals and assists. The versatile athlete found teammate Sophia Gladieux for two assists in the Nittany Lions’ previous 3-0 victory over Kent State.

Anna Simon, graduate midfielder, No. 17 — The Germany native adds another athlete to contribute to a Penn State offensive attack that averages 3.1 goals per game. Simon recorded the opening goal in Penn State’s 2-1 overtime victory over then-No. 4 Iowa. The five-foot-nine midfielder is seventh in the Big Ten with 45 shots on the season. She has the experience and talent to help this offense play a pivotal role in this year’s postseason.


Goals. Many believe Penn State’s offense holds the keys to its season and it’s not hard to see why. Penn State is seventh in the Big Ten with 46 goals, with seven players contributing to the scoring column. With Gladieux leading the offense, the Nittany Lions attack opponents’ cages early and often. Penn State has recorded at least four goals in five of its 13 victories this season. The Nittany Lions are one of three Big Ten teams nationally ranked in the top 15 in goals.


Shots on goal percentage. For a team ranked in the top 10, it’s hard to nitpick an area of improvement. However, the Nittany Lions’ talented roster struggles with shots on goal, as they are fifth in the Big Ten with 16.4 per game. If they are able to make strides in this category, Penn State’s offense could improve its efficiency.

Three things to watch

1. Will Maryland or Penn State extend its winning streak with the Big Ten Tournament on the horizon? Teams across the country hope to build momentum toward the end of the regular season and these two Big Ten contenders are doing just that. Maryland is on a seven-game winning streak, with notable victories over Northwestern and Michigan. Penn State is hitting its stride, as the Nittany Lions are winners of their last five contests. They pitched two shutouts in their previous two victories, only relinquishing six penalty corners and 14 shots. With the season coming to an end, these two programs are going to be a tough out due to their recent dominance. This game is a highly anticipated matchup with talented athletes on both sidelines, so Friday’s game figures to be a competitive contest.

2. Can the Terps add another top-10 opponent to their impressive win total? Maryland has played at a high level this season, jumping out to a 7-0 start in its 2022 campaign. The Terps play in arguably the toughest conference in the country and have numerous ranked opponents on their annual schedule. Nine of Maryland’s 14 victories have come against opponents ranked in the NFHCA Top 25. With a victory over Penn State, the Terps would have eight wins in Big Ten play for the first time since 2015. Their depth and complimentary style of play have been the deciding factor in overcoming injuries to sophomore forward Hope Rose and senior midfielder Emma DeBerdine.

3. Will Maryland end Penn State’s two-game winning streak in the series? Last season, Penn State won both contests over the Terps. One of the Nittany Lions’ victories was in College Park, and the other came in the Big Ten Quarterfinals when graduate midfielder Anna Simon scored a goal in the final minute to bounce the Terps. The No. 2 Terps have played outstanding this season and defeating Penn State will further cement their dominance in conference play.