No. 3-seed Maryland field hockey’s quarterfinal matchup with Syracuse went to a penalty shootout and all Maryland needed was a score and defensive stop to send it to the Final Four.
Sophomore forward Hope Rose sprinted toward Syracuse goalkeeper Brooke Borzymowski. With her back turned, Rose sent a wide shot into the cage to give Maryland the lead it needed.
Syracuse received the ball with a chance to extend the thriller. Senior forward Charlotte de Vries exercised patience when attacking the cage, but Maryland sophomore goalkeeper Paige Kieft shunned her shot away to win the game.
Maryland secured the 3-2 victory over Syracuse in the shootout to advance to its second consecutive Final Four.
Maryland and Syracuse started the game by trading possessions and playing strong defense to keep the opponent’s athletes away from the circle.
Syracuse made several trips towards Maryland’s cage, but graduate defender Riley Donnelly and junior defender Rayne Wright made timely rotations to hold the Orange out of the cage.
Despite both teams failing to register a goal in the opening quarter, Maryland led in every major statistical category. The Terps held a 7-0 shots advantage along with two penalty corners.
With under 10 minutes remaining until halftime, Syracuse would break the ice. Graduate forward Quirine Comans dribbled around a Maryland defender then proceeded to send a deflected shot into the cage for the opening goal of the contest. Comans’ goal gave Syracuse an early 1-0 lead on the road.
The second half began with the Terps looking to be aggressive on the offensive end to find the equalizer. With under 40 seconds expired in the third quarter, Maryland’s assertiveness forced four consecutive penalty corners. Borzymowski recorded athletic saves on each of the Terps’ scoring opportunities.
Just seconds into the fourth quarter, Maryland finally capitalized on a penalty corner. Senior midfielder Emma DeBerdine slipped the ball to Donnelly. The hero in the Terps’ first-round victory swung a shot that deflected in front of DeBerdine. Once DeBerdine noticed the ball, she sent a shot into the right side of the cage to even the game at one apiece.
The Terps stormed the field in transition as they searched for the go-ahead goal. Freshman midfielder Sophie Klautz made a 180-degree spin before firing a backhanded shot into the cage. Klautz’s goal gave Maryland a 2-1 lead late into the final period of regulation.
The Orange responded immediately with a goal of their own. Syracuse received its third penalty corner of the game. Junior back Eefke van den Nieuwenhof sent a sailing shot over the head of Maryland senior goalkeeper Christina Calandra to tie the game at two and send it into overtime.
The first overtime period saw both programs playing with a sense of urgency to score the game-winning goal. Just minutes into the period, Syracuse received a penalty corner. Van den Nieuwenhof attempted to send another high shot in the cage, but the ball sailed over the crossbar to culminate the first overtime period.
Syracuse had three shots in the second overtime period while Maryland had zero, but the latter held strong to force a shootout.
It took six rounds, but the Terps showed resilience, storming back from a 2-0 shootout deficit to win the national quarterfinal game.
Maryland’s Final Four matchup will take place this Friday, Nov. 18, in Storrs, Connecticut at a time to be announced.
Three things to know
1. The Terps advance to their second consecutive Final Four. In a thrilling battle for the ages, Maryland escaped Syracuse in a shootout to send the historically great program to its second straight national semifinal. Last year, Maryland failed to get past the Final Four, but it has its sights set on a national title and will look to outlast last year’s squad in the tournament.
2. Paige Kieft sealed the game off the bench. After Calandra played all four quarters and two overtime periods, Maryland head coach Missy Meharg substituted Kieft into the game for the shootout. It ended up being the right decision, as Kieft made a few clutch saves to keep the Terps’ season alive and eventually seal the game. Maryland has relied on both goalkeepers all season long, and its depth at the position proved to be crucial.
3. The Terps will face a familiar foe in their semifinal matchup. Maryland is set to play the winner of No. 2-seed Northwestern and Iowa. The Terps played both programs in a crucial two-game road trip to end September and start October. On Sept. 30, Maryland beat then-No. 3 Iowa, 2-1, in overtime. Two days later, the Terps beat the then-No. 2 Wildcats by the same exact score in overtime. Northwestern ultimately got revenge on the Terps in the Big Ten semifinals, and perhaps an epic third matchup of the season is on tap.