With high expectations this year, Maryland field hockey kicks off its 2023 season this weekend in California. The Terps, ranked as the No. 3 team in the nation in the Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association preseason poll, will play at Stanford, California and UC Davis.
Maryland has an opportunity to begin the season on a dominant note against three teams that struggled in 2022. Stanford is the only of the three teams the Terps will face that finished last year with a winning record (10-9). None of the three programs have ever defeated Maryland.
Maryland’s opening match at Stanford is set for Friday at 3 p.m. and will be streamed on Pac-12 Insider. The Terps will then take on Cal on Sunday at 3 p.m., available to stream on Cal Live Stream-6. Maryland will end its West Coast trip by facing UC Davis on Monday at 6 p.m. with a stream available on ESPN+.
2022 record: 10-9, 4-4 America East
After finishing 4-9 in 2021, Stanford showed vast improvement when it went 10-9 last season under head coach Roz Ellis. The Cardinal picked up four wins against ranked opponents last season, most notably beating then-No. 17 James Madison, 3-2, in overtime.
Players to know
Haley Mossmer, senior attacker, No. 12 — Mossmer returns to the Cardinal attack after leading Stanford last year with 11 goals, the fifth-most by any player in the America East. A member of last year’s America East Championship All-Tournament Team, Mossmer ended the season strong by scoring seven goals in Stanford’s last seven games.
Anna Ghuliani, sophomore defender, No. 10 — Ghuliani has stood out amongst a talented group of underclassmen on Stanford’s roster. Ghuliani was named to the America East All-Rookie Team last year after starting 15 of her 16 appearances. With Ghuliani’s play, Stanford had the lowest goals against average out of any America East team last year.
Defense. Last year, Stanford’s 1.42 goals against average was the lowest of all America East teams. Many returners on the back line lead a team that should be even stronger this year. Sophomores Kendall Dowd and Daisy Ford are both back in goal after each appearing in at least 15 games last season and combining for a .737 save percentage.
Scoring. After being one of the best defensive teams in its conference last season, Stanford struggled with scoring. Held under two goals on nine separate occasions, Stanford’s 1.52 goals-per-game average was the lowest in the America East last year.
Cal Golden Bears
2022 record: 4-11, 3-5 America East
Maryland faces off against Cal on Sunday in the first matchup between the two teams since the Terps won, 3-1, in 2021. The Golden Bears struggled last year under head coach Shellie Onstead, losing five of their last six games.
Cal has had a losing record in four of the last five seasons, and will look to blemish Maryland head coach Missy Meharg’s 12-0 all-time record against the Golden Bears.
Players to know
Benter Baekers, graduate forward, No. 12 — Baekers is a name very familiar to the Terps. After spending the last two seasons at Big Ten rival Northwestern, the two-time All-Big Ten first-team selection transferred to Cal this offseason as a graduate student. Baekers’ 86 career goals and 172 career points are both the most in the country for an active player. She looks this season to become the 14th player in NCAA history to score 100 career goals.
Kiki de Bruijne, senior forward, No. 1 — Bruijne is one of few players the Golden Bears return on attack. Bruijne started all 15 games last season, scoring four goals across 855 minutes of action, which both ranked among the top three on the team.
Fouls. Cal was one of the most disciplined teams in the America East last year. Teams in the conference averaged over 225 fouls but the Golden Bears committed just 95, the second-lowest mark in the conference.
Goaltending. Many of Cal’s woes last season came from its play in net — its cumulative .660 save percentage was the worst mark in the America East last season. Cal will hope to see that improve this year, as sophomores Audrey Post and Tina Jolly are expected to split time in net.
UC Davis Aggies
2022 record: 2-13, 1-7 America East
The first year under head coach Austin Pile didn’t go as planned for UC Davis. After finishing 2021 with a 6-10 record, the Aggies won only two games last season.
With an underclassmen-heavy roster, UC Davis will look to make vast improvements from a year ago and work toward an upset of Maryland on Monday.
Players to know
Izzy Tedrow, senior midfielder, No. 3 — Tedrow routinely led the Aggies’ offense last year. Starting 40 of UC Davis’ 41 games over the last three seasons, Tedrow led last season’s team with five assists and was second with four goals and 13 points.
Sarah Lopez, junior goalkeeper, No. 34 — After splitting time with Kelli Wagnon in goal last season, Lopez returns as the clear starter in net. Starting two of her 10 appearances last season, Lopez’s .719 save percentage and 16 goals allowed were both the best on the team.
Goaltending. Between its two goaltenders last season, UC Davis found success between the pipes. Its 105 saves were the fourth-most in the America East, and its seven saves per game was the conference’s third-best mark.
Scoring margin. As its record last year suggests, UC Davis struggled with both offensive opportunities and defensive stops on the back line. The Aggies scored an America East-worst 24 goals last season while allowing opponents to average 3.27 goals per game, also a conference worst. Those statistics equalled a -1.67 scoring margin.
Three things to watch
1. Deep playoff runs. Both Maryland and Stanford enter the opening matchup after being eliminated deep in the postseason last year. As the fifth-seeded team, Stanford took No. 2-seed Albany to shootouts in the America East championship game before eventually losing, 2-1. Similarly, Maryland lost to Northwestern by the same score in last year’s NCAA semifinal. In their own ways, expect both teams to play with something to prove after last season’s playoff disappointment.
2. Who steps up offensively for Cal? Both Maryland and Cal have major questions when it comes to their offenses, although each team has an idea who their top player on that half of the field will be. Cal will benefit from the aforementioned transfer of Baekers, and Maryland returns junior midfielder Hope Rose, its top goal scorer and point leader from last year. However, after that, both teams will have to experiment. Cal lost five of its top six goal scorers from last season and Maryland graduated four of its top five.
3. UC Davis is experienced in close games. Even with its disappointing record last season, six of UC Davis’ 11 losses were by one score. If UC Davis can manage to hang around in the first half, the Aggies could use their close-game experience to make things interesting in the end.