Following a double-overtime loss to Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament championship last Sunday, Maryland field hockey earned the No. 4 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament and will host Old Dominion on Friday. With the Terps earning a top-four seed, College Park was designated as a site for the opening two rounds.
Maryland (16-5) received the somewhat improbable nod as a top-four seed in the tournament after top-10 wins against Iowa and Rutgers during its run to the Big Ten Tournament finale. After a 14-4 regular season, the Terps were ranked as the country’s No. 8 team by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
“I was surprised to be honest,” Maryland head coach Missy Meharg said. “I thought the [ACC] had a higher rate of performance and we’d be traveling there … but we’re super excited to be home.”
The Terps, preparing for their 35th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, have gone undefeated against Old Dominion (14-5) in three matchups since joining the Big Ten in 2014.
Friday’s match will begin at noon and be available for streaming on Big Ten Plus.
Old Dominion Monarchs (14-5, 6-1 Big East)
Winners of its last 12, Old Dominion makes the drive up from Norfolk, Va. to College Park after earning its first-ever Big East championship. As the tournament’s No. 2 seed, the Monarchs upset top-seeded Liberty, 3-1, in the final behind a goal and two assists from junior midfielder Frederique Zandbergen.
Old Dominion, which finished the regular season with a 12-5 record after losing five of its first seven, are led by a familiar face in 10th-year head coach Andrew Griffiths. An assistant coach at Maryland from 1998-99 and again from 2001-2004, Griffiths worked with Meharg on Maryland’s 1999 NCAA title team, one of the four Final Four teams he coached with the Terps.
“We’re great friends and colleagues,” Meharg said of Griffiths. “... It’s going to be a great battle between two very good teams.”
Players to know
Marlon de Bruijne, senior forward, No. 7 — Old Dominion’s attack has run through de Bruijne this season. The senior was the lone Monarch recognized unanimously as an All-Big East first team selection and has paced Old Dominion’s offense with a team-leading 18 goals and 42 points.
Suus Broers, freshman goalkeeper, No. 44 — Similar to Maryland goalkeeper Alyssa Klebasko, Broers has made an immediate impact as a freshman net-minder. Broers has started all 19 games for Old Dominion, holding a .714 save percentage that earned her Big East Co-Freshman of the Year honors.
Nicole Fredericks, graduate backer, No. 8 — On Old Dominion’s impressive defense, look for Fredericks to be the anchor. The graduate defender and All Big East first team selection was named Big East Tournament MVP last week for her efforts.
Goals. Through the regular season, Old Dominion featured its conference’s best attack. The Monarchs were the only Big East team to average over three goals per game prior to postseason play and scored four or more goals in nine matches.
NCAA Tournament experience. By beating Liberty, Old Dominion clinched an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Griffith’s inaugural season in 2012.
Three things to watch
1. Can Maryland fix its corner disadvantage? The Terps drew a combined one penalty corner in their Big Ten Tournament games against Rutgers and Northwestern. In the championship loss to the Wildcats, Maryland conceded 17 corners, a new record since joining the conference.
2. Getting back to 100%. Maryland will host Old Dominion less than a week after playing three games in a four-day span, their only such streak this season.
3. Scoring early. After scoring in the first half in 12 straight regular season games, the Terps have failed to find a first- or second-quarter goal in any of their three most recent games.