The No. 3 Maryland Terrapins return to College Park for a Big Ten matchup with the No. 8 Michigan Wolverines on Friday at 6 p.m.
Maryland (7-1) is coming off its first loss of the season, a 4-3 double overtime defeat to No. 7 Princeton. Star sophomore forward Hope Rose’s goal and assist were not enough to secure the team’s fifth top-25 victory. The Terps will look to get back to their winning ways at home in their second conference game of the season.
Michigan (4-3), however, secured an impressive 3-0 home victory over Cornell. The Wolverines dominated the shot category with a 31-6 advantage through four quarters. With its latest victory, Michigan ended a two-game losing streak after initially winning three consecutive games. Two Wolverines were ranked within the top 10 in the conference in shots on goals. They will look to pull off the upset and hand the Terps their second consecutive loss of the season.
Maryland leads the all-time series over Michigan, 20-5, including 10 victories at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park. Last season, the Terps defeated then-No. 2 Michigan, 2-1, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Securing victories in the Big Ten is not an easy task, and both programs will be looking to pick up a victory to carry into the second half of the season.
Now let’s look at the Michigan Wolverines.
Michigan Wolverines (4-3)
2021 record: 16-5 (5-3 Big Ten)
Michigan is led by head coach Marcia Pankratz, returning for her 23rd season in Ann Arbor. Pankratz is the program’s all-time winningest coach with a 337-145 record and has an outstanding 118-44 mark in conference play.
She has led the program to great success, most recently in spring 2021. The Wolverines recorded a 15-3 record while securing the highly-coveted Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. Michigan lost, 4-3, to North Carolina in an overtime thriller in the national championship game.
Under Pankratz’s leadership, Michigan has made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 10 out of the last 12 seasons. The Wolverines are annually one of the best teams in the country and Pankratz’s coaching allows them to make deep runs in the postseason.
The Wolverines’ tenured coach has collected six Big Ten Coach of the Year awards and has reached the conference championship game eight times. She has proven she can lead a team to success, and Michigan remains a threat to compete for a national title.
Pankratz is currently in her second stint with the program, first from 1996-2004 and then from 2009 to now.
Players to know
Abby Tamer, sophomore midfielder, No. 4 — Tamer currently leads the Wolverines in goals with six on the season. She also ranks second in the Big Ten in shots with 34. The star midfielder is fifth in the conference with 14 points. The Michigan native is the leader of the Wolverines’ offense and constantly looks for opportunities to pressure opposing cages.
Alana Richardson, sophomore midfielder, No. 7 — The five-foot-five forward has recorded three goals and one assist this season for the Wolverines. Richardson is tied for second on the team with seven points. She has also registered eight shots for Michigan to add to one of the best offensive attacks in the Big Ten. In the 3-1 victory over Wake Forest on Aug. 28, she scored the go-ahead goal to swing momentum to her sideline.
Lora Clarke, junior midfielder, No. 26 — Clarke enters the matchup with Maryland with three goals under her belt thus far. She scored the opening goal in Michigan’s previous 3-0 victory over Cornell. The junior midfielder is eighth in the Big Ten in shots on goal per game with 1.86 a clip. The Ohio native scored the final goal of a 9-0 demolishing of in-state foe Central Michigan.
Shots. Michigan is doing an outstanding job of generating shots at the cage this season. The Wolverines have outscored opponents in shots with a 140-42 advantage. Michigan has at least seven players who have recorded eight or more shots this season, and there are several athletes featured on its roster that pose several problems for the opposing goalkeeper. If the Wolverines’ offense can convert more shots into goals, they could be a team to watch in the Big Ten.
Saves. Michigan has struggled this season to produce many saves, as opponents are winning the margin by a score of 64-16. Opposing defenses have enjoyed great success in limiting the Wolverines’ effectiveness to score in bunches. This has been an area of concern for Michigan again, after ranking eighth in the Big Ten with 61 saves. Their conference features several offensive juggernauts, so having a strong defense would bode well for halting their attack.
Three things to watch
1. How will Maryland respond after suffering its first loss of the season? The Terps’ 19 shots were not enough to produce the game-winning goal in their 4-3 loss to No. 8 Princeton on Tuesday. Despite having favorable scoring opportunities, they didn’t register their first goal until the second quarter. Maryland has been outstanding this season, with a strong defense and an offense capable of exploding on any given night. With Michigan coming to town on Friday, the Terps will look to capitalize on their opportunities and yield a victory. The Wolverines are a team loaded with talent and capable of competing with the elite in the Big Ten.
2. Will the Terps offense overcome a tough Michigan defense? Maryland’s offense is loaded with quickness and depth at multiple positions. Star sophomore forward Hope Rose leads the Terps with eight goals on the season, chipping one in during Maryland’s 4-3 loss to Princeton. The Terps have six players that have registered three goals or more, showcasing the dynamic versatility of their offensive attack. Michigan’s defense has been lights out this season, as it is only relinquishing 1.43 goals per game. Maryland will look to maneuver its way into the circle for scoring opportunities at the cage.
3. Can the Terps hold serve during a two game-stint at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex? With a victory over Michigan, the Terps can pick up their fifth home victory of the season and can separate themselves by taking care of business at home with two games in three days. Shortly after, the Michigan State Spartans will make their way to College Park for a Sunday afternoon matchup with the Terps. By collecting a victory over Michigan, the Terps can keep pace with other programs in the competitive Big Ten.