With No. 2-seed Maryland field hockey sporting a 3-2 lead over No. 7-seed Ohio State, the Terps looked to put the game away with an additional goal to advance to the semifinals.
Maryland star sophomore forward Hope Rose noticed an empty Ohio State net and sprinted down the left sideline. With about two minutes remaining, Rose maneuvered her way through Ohio State’s defenders before firing an easy goal into the cage to help Maryland pull away in an eventual 5-2 victory at Buckeye Varsity Field in Columbus, Ohio.
With the win, Maryland moves on to the semifinals and will face the winner of Rutgers vs. Northwestern on Friday at 4 p.m.
The Big Ten Tournament matchup started with both teams exerting extreme effort on the defensive end to not relinquish the opening goal.
Just two and a half minutes into the game, Ohio State was awarded the first penalty corner. Senior back Delaney Lawler attempted to step into a shot, but Maryland junior defender Rayne Wright used her body to block the scoring lane. Wright’s outstanding agility prevented an Ohio State goal.
Maryland attempted to ignite its electric offense but was unable to break the ice despite favorable looks at the cage.
Minutes later, Maryland received its first penalty corner of the game. Maryland graduate midfielder Danielle Van Rootselaar swung a strong shot towards the cage, but her goal attempt was swatted away by the hands of Ohio State junior goalkeeper Abby Danson.
With defense reigning supreme, the second quarter began similar to the opening 15 minutes. Early in the frame, Ohio State received its second penalty corner of the game, but Maryland senior goalkeeper Christina Calandra made her first save of the day.
“What’s been amazing about Christina, Paige [Kieft] and our whole defense is that we came into a situation where one of the goalkeepers was going to be on the field and they’ve done nothing but support each other and push each other,” Maryland head coach Missy Meharg said. “I really liked the way that they have been a unit together and the way our team has embraced it.”
The offenses started to pick up for both teams in the second quarter, though. Maryland senior forward Margot Lawn jolted down the field and her offensive aggressiveness forced a penalty corner for the Terps.
With under nine minutes until halftime, the Terps received their fourth penalty corner of the game. Maryland graduate midfielder Danielle Van Rootselaar swung in a low shot, with Danson blocking the shot in the air. Maryland freshman midfielder Sophie Klautz corralled the rebound, though, and immediately fired it into the cage for the first goal of the contest. Klautz’s instincts led to a goal that gave the Terps a 1-0 lead.
With halftime on the horizon, Ohio State searched for the game-tying goal. Ohio State sophomore midfielder Hallie Brost used nifty stick skills to burst down the right side of the field. Brost sprinted toward Calandra before sending a fast shot into the left side of the cage for the equalizer.
With under a minute remaining until both teams entered the locker room, Maryland’s offense sought the go-ahead goal. The Terps’ assertiveness around the cage produced their fifth penalty corner of the game with just two seconds remaining on the clock.
Maryland graduate defender Riley Donnelly swung a strong wide shot that skipped past Danson for a goal as the buzzer sounded, and the Terps took a 2-1 lead into intermission.
Ohio State began the third quarter with an emphasis to tie the game.
With under three minutes left in the third quarter, Ohio State was assessed its sixth penalty corner. Senior forward Sarah Charley fired a missile that found the cage. Charley’s goal tied the game at two heading into the fourth quarter.
The Terps looked determined to play with controlled aggression, as they attacked the Ohio State defense from multiple angles.
Just a few minutes into the fourth quarter, Maryland earned its seventh penalty corner of the game. Donnelly sent a winding shot that swished into the left side of the cage for the go-ahead goal. Donnelly’s goal helped Maryland reclaim a 3-2 lead heading into the final stretch.
“It’s really important that we have the inserting the sticks up on, and I saw, as it was going, I was like, ‘Oh man, they set this up perfectly,’” Donnelly said. “They put it right where I needed to. And I knew I just needed to put it on goal hard and I was able to find the back of the net, which was really exciting.”
In a desperate attempt to stave off elimination following Rose’s goal, Ohio State pulled its goalie with under two minutes remaining in the contest. Van Rootselaar sprinted the length of the field and sent an uncontested shot into the cage for the Terps’ fifth goal of the game.
Three things to know
1. Maryland advanced in the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since the 2018 season. After a slow first quarter on the offensive end, Maryland caught its rhythm with two goals in the second quarter. Maryland was led by Donnelly, whose two goals helped the Terps secure their first victory in the Big Ten Tournament since 2018. This will also be Maryland’s first appearance in the conference tournament semifinals since 2019, when Penn State bounced the top-seeded Terps in an upset.
2. Maryland’s ability to capitalize on its penalty corners was paramount. The Terps had eight penalty corners Thursday to Ohio State’s nine. However, they were able to convert three of them into goals while the Buckeyes only did so once. Maryland made Ohio State pay for its mistakes, ultimately coming away with a win to advance to the semifinals.
3. The Terps will take on the winner of Rutgers-Northwestern. Maryland will face the victor of the 5 p.m. showdown between the No. 3-seed Wildcats and the No. 6-seed Scarlet Knights at 4 p.m. on Friday. Maryland defeated both teams in thrillers earlier this season, winning 2-1 in overtime at Northwestern on Oct. 2 and sneaking past Rutgers at home in a 4-3 victory on Oct. 16. A rematch with Northwestern could be epic, as the reigning national champion has had great battles with Maryland in years past.