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No. 4 Maryland field hockey improves to 4-0 with 7-2 win over No. 18 Duke, sweeps Big Ten/ACC Cup

The Terps are off to their best start since 2018.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Against her former team, Maryland midfielder Leah Crouse had an extra ounce of motivation. Crouse, who chose to play for head coach Missy Meharg after as a graduate student after four seasons at Duke, saw her team — ranked fourth in the nation — face off against the 18th-ranked Blue Devils in their second game of the Big Ten/ACC Cup.

With 1:33 left in the third quarter, Crouse, who already had an assist, continued to make her mark on Sunday’s game, scoring against her former team to extend Maryland’s lead to 3-1 and all but secure a victory.

The Terps moved to 4-0 on the season with Sunday’s 7-2 win in Newton, Massachusetts, sweeping the Big Ten/ACC Cup for the second time in the 20 years of the event’s existence.

Desperate for a goal after being shut out by top-ranked Northwestern on Friday, Duke came out on the front foot Sunday.

Less than three minutes into the contest, Duke sophomore forward Issy Carey drew a foul after forcing a turnover by Maryland senior defender Maura Verleg, setting up the Blue Devils’ first penalty corner of the day. On the set piece, Carey took a set-up from junior midfielder Charlotte van Oirschot and fired a shot into the bottom right corner of the goal — thrusting Duke into the lead.

For the first time all season, the Terps had to play from behind.

Fully controlling the flow of the game against its former ACC rival, Duke seemed sure to double its lead on its second penalty corner halfway through the first quarter, but senior goalkeeper Christina Calandra came through with a diving stop to miraculously keep the ball out of her cage.

Despite not scoring, Maryland maintained high levels of pressure throughout the first quarter, registering six shots to Duke’s two. That pressure eventually paid off, as with under 10 minutes remaining until halftime, the Terps turned the tide of the game on a fortuitous bounce.

On a penalty corner, sophomore forward Hope Rose flung a shot into a jumble of Duke defenders positioned in front of Blue Devils junior goalie Piper Hampsch. Rose’s attempt at goal took a deflection off a Duke player’s stick, though, and sailed over the head of Hampsch, evening Sunday’s game at one.

Rose leads the Terps with four goals this season.

Just four minutes later, Maryland took the lead. Verleg made up for her prior turnover, shooting from the edge of the striking circle and finding the cage to put her team ahead, 2-1. Duke contested the goal — claiming it was shot from an illegal position — but the officials deemed it legal.

With 1:33 left in the first half, Maryland graduate midfielder Danielle van Rootselaar took a hit from Duke senior midfielder Josie Varney that landed just above her goggles. Varney was issued a yellow card and van Rooselaar had to leave the game with an apparent head injury, but returned for the second half.

The third quarter was far less eventful than the second, as only one shot was recorded the entire period. But, Maryland made that shot count, as Crouse snuck a shot past Hampsch for the Terps’ third goal of the day.

With a comfortable, 3-1 lead already in tow, Meharg’s team could’ve cruised to an easy victory and packed the defense back. Instead, the Terps went on a fourth-quarter scoring spree, firing in three goals in the period’s first seven minutes.

Graduate midfielder Bibi Donraadt opened the quarter with a goal, fed by Crouse’s second assist of the game. Donraadt, who led the Terps in scoring last season, failed to register a goal in the team’s first two games but has now scored in back-to-back contests.

Two more goals by senior forward Margot Lawn and senior midfielder Emma DeBerdine gave Maryland a commanding 6-1 lead, punctuated a stretch of six unanswered goals.

Goals by Duke senior forward Hannah Miller and a last-second exclamation point by van Rootselaar finalized Sunday’s scoreline — a 7-2 Maryland victory.

Still undefeated, the Terps will return to College Park for the Terrapin Invitational, which includes a Friday night game against No. 7 Harvard and a Sunday afternoon tilt against New Hampshire.

Three things to know

1. Maryland vastly outshot its opponent once again. Through four games this season, the Terps have both shut down opponents and put pressure on their defenses, outshooting their foes, 87-21. Calandra has been solid in goal as well, stopping many of the limited number of shots she has faced. Maryland has been nothing short of dominant this season and has the ability to hang with the best teams in nation — many of which reside in the Big Ten.

2. Hope Rose is making an early case for national awards. The 2021 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Rose continued her outstanding play this season with a one-goal, two-assist showing against Duke. She has now tallied four goals and five assists in the team’s first four games, both team-highs. Rose is on pace for 18 goals and 22 assists this season, which would put her squarely in the discussion for All-American consideration.

3. Leah Crouse bit the hand that once fed her. Crouse put on an impressive display against her former team Sunday, dishing out two assists and adding a goal of her own. She has been one of the most impressive newcomers on this year’s Maryland roster and could play a major role in taking the Terps to the heights that they wish to achieve.