No. 3 Maryland field hockey takes its undefeated record on the road for a Big Ten clash with No. 23 Ohio State at Buckeye Varsity Field in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday at 3 p.m.
The Terps (6-0) enter their first conference tilt of the season following a two-game sweep of the Terrapin Invitational. Maryland defeated then No. 12 Harvard and New Hampshire by a total margin of eight to two. With six goals in their previous game, it marks the third time the Terps scored at least six goals this season. Their defense has been lights out and presents several problems for offenses.
Ohio State (3-1) is coming off its first loss of the season after surrendering a late first-quarter goal from a penalty stroke. Ohio State mustered 13 shots but was not able to convert any into goals, as Miami defeated the Buckeyes, 2-1. Prior to suffering its first defeat, Ohio State did not allow a single goal.
Maryland will look to move to 7-0 and earn a victory in the ultra-competitive Big Ten. Victories in the Big Ten are pivotal and will increase in significance later in the season.
The Buckeyes are looking to make a statement with a victory over No. 3 Maryland and cement themselves as contenders in the Big Ten.
The Terps lead the all-time series with a 15-0 record, with two of those victories coming in postseason play. Maryland defeated Ohio State last season, 6-0, on Oct. 29, 2021, in College Park.
Now, let’s look at the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Ohio State Buckeyes (3-1)
2021 record: 7-11 (1-7 Big Ten)
Ohio State is led by head coach Jarred Martin, who’s entering his sixth season leading the Buckeyes. Martin established himself as a mainstay with 45 victories in his first four seasons in Columbus.
Under his leadership, the program has enjoyed great success and has been a tough team in one of the most competitive conferences in the country.
In 2019, he guided one of the nation’s top offenses, as the Buckeyes scored 3.06 goals per game. During the spring of 2021, Martin led Ohio State to an appearance in the Big Ten Championship for the first time in 11 seasons.
Martin has two seasons with 10-plus wins under his belt, including two semifinal berths in the Big Ten Tournament.
Prior to Ohio State, Martin served as an assistant coach at Duke, where he was pivotal in the Blue Devils’ seven NCAA Tournament appearances and two trips to the Final Four.
He has the pedigree to lead the Ohio State program to prominence and make noise during the Big Ten tournament.
Players to know
Cameryn Forgash, sophomore midfielder, No. 20 — Forgash is tied for the team lead in goals with two. She also leads the team with five points in her sophomore campaign. The Pennsylvania native was an instant contributor last season, as she started 17 games and recorded three goals. Her impact has contributed to Ohio State’s fast start, and she is a large part of an offense that is among the best in the Big Ten.
Hallie Brost, sophomore midfielder, No. 18 — The sophomore midfielder returns after playing in all 18 games during her freshman season. The Richmond, Virginia native also recorded six points, two goals and two assists in 2021. Through four games, she’s already matched last season’s goal total of two. She’s currently second on the team with seven shots on goal. Brost was a part of a recruiting class that many expect will help Ohio State contend for Big Ten supremacy.
Zella Bailey, freshman forward, No. 4 — The former Max Field Hockey Top 50 prospect has already established herself as a contributor with two goals scored this season. Bailey has recorded six shots and five shots on goals in her debut season for Ohio State. The Virginia Beach native is aggressive and constantly yearns for creases to exploit.
Goals. Ohio State has a team loaded with youth and potential. The Buckeyes feature several midfielders that look to pressure the cage early and often. Four members of their team have scored at least two goals, adding to their depth and strategies to attack in transition. Martin’s squad is third in the Big Ten with 74 shots, and they are constantly looking for additional holes for scoring opportunities.
Assists. The Buckeyes have struggled through four games to find a playmaker capable of distributing the ball to its plethora of scorers. Ohio State has five total assists on the year, which ranks second-to-last in the Big Ten. With the grind of conference play rapidly approaching, it’s an area that should be monitored going forward.
Three things to watch
1. Can Maryland keep its undefeated streak going? The Terps recorded six wins heading into their first conference game and will be looking to secure their second road victory of the season versus Ohio State. Maryland has dominated opponents this year with 26 goals — 11 Terps registering at least one. The Terps’ depth has paid early dividends, and they will look to pick up their fourth victory over a ranked opponent. As the weather begins to shift, Big Ten field hockey will ramp up in its intensity.
2. Will Maryland’s defense continue its reign in the Big Ten opener? Many believe Maryland’s defense has been the driving force behind its undefeated start, and it’s not hard to see why. The Terps have held five opponents to one goal or fewer, while only relinquishing 27 total shots. Maryland defenders Rayne Wright and Maura Verleg have smothered opponents and forced inopportune turnovers to get the ball back to its offense. The Big Ten features several electric offenses that will provide a great test for a Maryland defense only allowing one goal per game.
3. Is this the game the Terps put together consecutive games of consistent offense? Coming into the season, many believed Maryland’s offense would be its strong suit, but the goals have not been coming with consistency. The Terps are third in the country with 4.3 goals per contest, but they have struggled to string together multiple games of consistent offense. That being said, Maryland has several athletes capable of pressuring the defense at any given moment. If the Terps can find ways to convert their 20.5 shots a game into a few more goals, Maryland will be a tough out in the Big Ten.