After taking a 3-2 with back-to-back fourth quarter goals, No. 3 Maryland field hockey looked to put the game away with a late fourth-quarter strike.
Maryland did just that, as graduate midfielder Danielle van Rootselaar fired her second goal into the cage to ultimately give the Terps their third straight goal and the 4-2 victory on Friday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio. The Terps moved to 7-0 with the win, showing ultimate signs of persistence to secure their first conference victory of the season.
“It was my first Big Ten game ever, so it was definitely exciting,” van Rootselaar said. “I think in the fourth quarter we really picked it up. The goal that we scored earlier in the fourth was really good [for our momentum].”
The Terps continued a growing trend with a slow opening quarter in their Big Ten opener versus Ohio State. Maryland’s four shots in the opening frame were all favorable looks at the cage, but none were cashed in for goals.
With fewer than 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Terps would get on the board, as van Rootselaar took advantage of a penalty corner with a swinging shot that entered the right side of the cage. The Brown transfer’s goal gave Maryland a 1-0 lead.
Maryland’s defense has been pivotal in their 6-0 start to the season, and it flashed moments of dominance in the first half.
The Buckeyes would immediately respond to the Terps’ goal with one of their own, though. Ohio State sophomore midfielder Hallie Brost dribbled around Maryland sophomore goalkeeper Paige Kieft before sending a high shot into the net to even the game at one apiece.
Ohio State used swift dribbling and quick ball movement to identify areas of weakness in Maryland’s stingy defense.
With the game tied heading into the second half, both teams paced the field for the go-ahead score. The Buckeyes’ aggressiveness paid off in the third quarter.
Less than two minutes into the third quarter, Ohio State was awarded its first penalty corner of the game. Sophomore midfielder Sarah Charley sent a low shot that ricocheted off Maryland freshman defender Ericka Morris-Adams’ shoe to enter the net. The goal gave the Buckeyes a 2-1 advantage heading into the final quarter of an early-season Big Ten thriller.
The Terps tried to get into the Ohio State circle to generate offense to even the score, but they were unable to cash in on their opportunities. In the fourth quarter, however, Maryland’s persistence eventually paid off.
A rare penalty stroke was awarded to the Terps, which gave them an opportunity to tie the game. Maryland star sophomore forward Hope Rose fired a swift shot to her left that entered the cage to give the Terps the equalizer.
The Terps relied on their defense to get the ball for an offense that began to gain a rhythm.
Maryland raced out in transition, highlighted by senior Belle Bressler finding graduate midfielder Leah Crouse for a wide open goal on the left side. Bressler’s timely assist resulted in Maryland taking a 3-2 advantage in the final minutes of the final frame.
Danielle van Rootselaar sealed the comeback win with her second goal of the game late in the period, and the Terps improved to 7-0 on the season and 1-0 in the Big Ten.
“So you know, most teams would just say ‘Oh, let’s just secure the win now.’ And we did and I thought Dani was very, very mature,” Maryland head coach Missy Meharg said. “She went in with no goalkeeper and secured it with a two-goal difference.”
Maryland will be back on the road again Tuesday for another ranked challenge at No. 8 Princeton.
Three things to know
1. The Terps vastly outshot the Buckeyes. Despite only scoring one goal in the first 45 minutes of play, Maryland constantly pressured Ohio State’s cage. The Terps outshot the Buckeyes by 10 in the first three quarters and scored on three of their four shots in the final period of play. This has been a trend for Meharg’s group all season long, and their resolve on the offensive end has paid off in the form of seven straight wins to begin the year.
2. Resilient Terps. Facing a 3-2 deficit in the first quarter, the possibility of Maryland suffering both its first loss and a winless start in Big Ten was feasible. Still, the Terps showed a never-quit mentality. With three unanswered goals in the fourth — on the road against a ranked opponent — Maryland showed its championship DNA. The Terps could be bound for a special year, and this comeback to retain their perfect start is just the latest example.
3. Sophomore Paige Kieft started in goal for the second consecutive game. If one thing is clear from Maryland’s dominant early stretch of the season, it’s that Meharg has two reliable goalkeepers. Kieft started her second straight game on Friday after senior goalkeeper Christina Calandra started the first five. Kieft has been as prolific in the cage as Calandra was to start the season. Although she gave up two goals today, she also had two saves. It will be interesting to see who Meharg goes with in the cage for the rest of the season.