No. 4 Maryland field hockey will hit the road for a top-15 matchup with No. 14 Boston College in the 20th annual Big Ten/ACC Cup Friday at 6 p.m. Newton, Massachusetts will host the inter-conference matchups of elite programs.
Boston College (1-1) enters the game following a narrow 3-2 loss to No. 19 Old Dominion. The Eagles allowed a goal with fewer than five minutes remaining, which proved to be the difference. In their season-opening 5-0 victory on Aug. 27, the Eagles scored at least once in each quarter to end Providence’s chances of making a comeback.
The Terps (2-0) earned consecutive victories in different fashions, adding the ability to win a defensive battle to their repertoire. Head coach Missy Meharg’s squad exploded in the opener with a resounding 7-1 victory on Aug. 26 over Drexel. Sophomore forward Hope Rose and freshman midfielder Sophie Klautz combined for five goals in the contest.
On Monday, graduate midfielder Danielle Van Rootselaar’s first-quarter goal, along with strong defense, proved to be enough to earn a 1-0 victory.
Maryland will look to go to 3-0 before a matchup with their former ACC rival — the Duke Blue Devils — on Sunday.
Maryland leads the all-time series over Boston College, 13-3. The Eagles narrowly defeated the Terps in last year’s matchup, 3-2.
Now, let’s look at the Boston College Eagles.
Boston College Eagles (1-1)
2021 record: 12-6 (3-3 ACC)
Boston College is led by head coach Kelly Doton, who is entering her seventh season at the program’s helm. During her tenure, she guided the Eagles to the program’s first Final Four in 2019. In the aforementioned season, she also recorded a 15-win total and an appearance in the ACC Championship.
The Greenfield, Mass. native was an outstanding player in her collegiate days and had a decorated career at Wake Forest. Doton was a vital member of a club that won consecutive national championships in 2002 and 2003. The former attacker received 2002 ACC Player of the Year and National Player of the Year honors in her Wake Forest Hall of Fame career.
During her short time with the Eagles, Doton has already posted the third-highest win total in program history. Goalkeeper Jonna Kennedy achieved history during the 2020-21 season by becoming the school’s first ACC Defensive Player of the Year and ACC Field Hockey Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
With Doton’s experience, Boston College is among the best teams in the ACC and figures to be a contender in the NCAA Tournament.
Players to know
Sarah Johnson, graduate defender, No. 3 — Johnson was tied for the team lead in goals last season with six. The five-foot-six defender was 10th in the ACC in points, recording six in her senior campaign. Johnson, a 2021 All-ACC Second Team member, is a versatile athlete with the skillset to play quality defense and contribute to a potent offensive attack. Johnson is a key piece to a Boston College team with athletes capable of playing cohesively to take down opponents.
Victoria Arra, sophomore midfielder, No. 25 — Arra has taken a step forward in her sophomore season and has become one of the team’s best players. Last season, Arra recorded one goal in 12 games. The Havertown, Pennsylvania native scored in each of Boston College’s first two games this year, easily surpassing her previous season’s total. Arra is an aggressive midfielder that improved her ability to generate goals for the Eagles. Her meteoric rise to contribute in her second year gives Boston College another player capable of adding to an offense that has scored seven goals thus far.
Milagros Arteta, senior midfielder, No. 6 — The Argentina native scored three game-winning goals last season, one of which came in a 3-2 victory against Maryland. Arteta scored six goals last season for Boston College, tying for the team lead with Johnson. She was fourth on the team with 27 shots registered. The senior is a slashing midfielder who’s constantly looking for scoring opportunities.
Shots. Boston College averaged 13.9 shots last season, third in the ACC behind two championship-caliber teams: Syracuse and North Carolina. The Eagles had four players that recorded at least 27 shots. Doton’s club has multiple athletes capable of pressuring the cage to add to their offensive attack.
Goals. The Eagles are proficient in generating shots, but they have struggled to convert them into goals. Boston College averaged 2.1 goals last season, which is relatively low for a team competing in the offensive-focused ACC. Scoring in bunches would be a welcomed addition for a team hoping to be in the NCAA Tournament picture in late October.
Three things to watch
1. Is Maryland’s defense capable of putting together three consecutive impressive performances? Through two games, the Terps have relinquished just one goal. Graduate goalkeeper Christina Calandra has been successful in calling commands and swatting away balls from her cage. In the Terps’ victory over Stanford, Calandra recorded her first shutout and showed why she is one of the best keepers in the Big Ten. Junior defender Rayne Wright has been playing high-level defense to neutralize opponents’ ability to get into the circle of the offense. Maryland’s defense will look to make a statement with an impressive showing versus a ranked opponent.
2. Will the Terps’ offense get back on track? After dismantling Drexel in the season opener, Maryland struggled to register more than one goal against Stanford. Fortunately, the one goal in the team’s second game was enough to give the Terps a 2-0 record. Graduate midfielder Bibi Donraadt has not joined Maryland’s goal column this season after leading the Terps with 13 scores a season ago. The Terps’ offense possesses a plethora of talent capable of ending their scoring struggles.
3. Can Maryland secure a victory after going winless at neutral locations last season? The Terps faltered to Boston College last season in the Big Ten/ACC Cup, which was one of Maryland’s three losses on neutral grounds. The Eagles are hosting this year’s challenge after Duke University hosted last season. Meharg told Testudo Times that she uses the three-day competition as a way for her team to compete against other top clubs.