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NCAA Tournament second round preview: No. 4-seed Maryland field hockey vs. Virginia

The Terps look to advance to the Final Four for the third straight season.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Following a 3-0 win Friday against Old Dominion in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, No. 4-seed Maryland field hockey (17-5, 8-3 Big Ten) is set to host Virginia (13-6, 3-3 ACC) in the Elite Eight.

The Terps are seeking their third straight Final Four appearance.

Sunday’s matchup is set for 1:30 p.m. and will be streamed on Big Ten Plus.

What happened last time

Maryland picked up its first top-10 victory this season with a 2-1 win over then-No. 6 Virginia back on Sept. 18th. Maryland freshman goalkeeper Alyssa Klebasko starred in his first career road start, making a then-season-high seven saves.

Margot Lawn and Hannah Boss each scored in the second quarter to put the Terps ahead, a lead they would not relinquish.

What’s Happened Since

After losing to Maryland, Virginia has won eight of its last 11 games.

The Cavaliers ended ACC play in the regular-season by clawing out one-score wins against Duke and reigning-champion North Carolina. Each team was ranked No. 2 in the country before being knocked off by Virginia.

At the end of the regular-season, it was announced that 18-year head coach Michelle Madison would be placed on leave for the remainder of the year for undisclosed reasons. In Madison’s place, third-year associate head coach Ole Keusgen has stepped in to lead Virginia to a 2-1 record in postseason play this year.

Virginia beat Syracuse in the ACC Tournament first round, but lost to eventual champions North Carolina in the second round. It begun the NCAA Tournament with a 2-1 win over Saint Joseph’s.

For Maryland, its excitement after the win over Virginia was short-lived — Maryland opened Big Ten play in its next outing, posting a 3-2 loss at Rutgers in shootouts.

The extra time loss to Rutgers sparked a seven game-winning streak for Maryland that featured ranked wins over Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa, before the Terps fell to No. 1 Northwestern in its regular season finale.

Serving as a host site for the first and second rounds of this year’s NCAA tournament, Maryland defeated Old Dominion 3-0 in the first leg of Friday’s double-header. Two first-half goals from Sammy Popper on designed corner plays let Maryland cruise in the second half. Margot Lawn, as the Terps corner inserter, assisted on both of Popper’s goals and added a fourth point with a score of her own in the third quarter.

Three things to watch

1. Importance of corners. Maryland and Virginia each utilized penalty corners to claim a two-goal lead in their respective first round tournament games on Friday.

2. Which goalkeeper cracks first? Both Klebasko and Virginia’s Tyler Kennedy played exceptionally in Friday’s first round matches. The two combined for 10 saves, showing how one goal could be all it takes in Sunday’s quarterfinal.

3. What’s on the line. The winner of Friday’s game will advance to the Final Four next weekend at North Carolina. For Maryland, it would be the program’s third consecutive appearance in the semifinals.