No. 3 Maryland field hockey returns to College Park this weekend for its opening home games.
After defeating Stanford, Cal and UC Davis handily, the Terps will break in the newly-renovated Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex when they welcome No. 20 Duke on Friday and No. 17 Boston College on Sunday. Both games are part of the eighth annual Big Ten/ACC Cup.
The tournament, purposely scheduled before the Terps play any conference opponents, was created with help from 36th-year Maryland head coach Missy Meharg. Meharg and organizers founded the four-team setup so that the programs involved could be exposed to tough competition early in the year. Aside from its cancellation in 2020, the two-game tournament has been played every year since 2015, with Duke and Boston College representing the ACC while Maryland and Northwestern appear for the Big Ten. Maryland swept the event last year and is hosting the tournament for the first time since 2018.
Maryland’s home opener against Duke and game against Boston College will both be available to stream on Big Ten Plus.
No. 20 Duke Blue Devils (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
2022 record: 7-11 (0-6 ACC)
Duke comes to College Park after beating Indiana, 3-2, in its home opener last Friday. The Blue Devils are led by two-time ACC Coach of the Year Pam Bustin, who is in her 11th season with the program.
Duke consistently has one of the toughest schedules in the country, the reasoning why a team that hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2019 has been a mainstay in the national rankings.
The Blue Devils went 2-11 against ranked competition last year, including the aforementioned loss to Maryland. Duke is 36-13-3 all-time against Maryland and has lost to the Terps in back-to-back Big Ten/ACC Cups, but will look to change things through its experienced attack.
Players to know
Hannah Miller, graduate forward, No. 3 — Since she was a freshman, Miller has been a focal point of Bustin’s offense. Starting all of Duke’s games since joining the program four years ago, Miller earned All-ACC first-team honors last season after leading the Blue Devils with 25 points and 11 assists. Miller also finished second on the team with seven goals. A two-time team captain for Bushin who already has four matchups against Maryland on her resume, look for Miller to utilize her experience and leadership while commanding the attack.
Charlie Van Oirschot, senior midfielder, No. 8 — When a defense’s attention goes to Miller, Van Oirschot has thrived. A two-time All-ACC second-team selection, Van Oirschot transferred from Louisville after her sophomore season before fitting right into Bushin’s system last year, scoring five goals and having three assists.
Returners. Coming into this season, the Blue Devils have an unrivaled number of returning contributors. Twelve of the top 13 Duke point-earners last season, including each of the top five, are back for what should be one of the most experienced teams in the country. In total, the group of a dozen returners accounted for 90% of the team’s goal production and 83% of the team’s assists last season.
Goalkeeping. For a team that’s so experienced, the Blue Devils hope 2023 can bring a much needed resurgence to their play in goal. Duke’s .661 save-percentage and 2.06 opponent goals per game average last year were among the worst in the ACC as graduate student Grace Brightbill and junior Piper Hampsch minded the net. Now a senior, Hampsch has been tasked as the singular, starting goalkeeper this season. She made one save while allowing two goals for a .333 save percentage in Duke’s win over Indiana.
No. 17 Boston College Eagles (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
2022 record: (8-10, 3-3 ACC)
Boston College comes into the new season after having an ultra-rare down year in 2022 under head coach Kelly Doton. For the first time since 1999, the Eagles posted a below .500 record at 8-10. The 22-year streak came to an end in part because Boston College dropped tough games last season to unranked Old Dominion, Albany and Wake Forest.
So far this season, the Eagles have taken care of unranked Providence and Maine. They’ll look to do the same in College Park on Friday against Maryland, a program Boston College is 2-3 against in the last five meetings.
Players to know
Margo Carlin, graduate forward, No. 24 - In 2022, Carlin was recognized alongside Duke’s Miller as an All-ACC first-team selection. Carlin was tied for the team lead with four assists while also scoring the Eagles’ second-most goals (7) and total points (18).
Peyton Hale, senior midfielder, No. 17 - After leading the Eagles with eight goals and 20 points last season, Hale will get a homecoming early in her senior year. The Forest Hill, Maryland native will play in College Park for the first time in her college career and has a chance to make a real impact while doing so. Hale logged a goal and assist in each of Boston College’s first two games.
Shot margin. Through their first two games this season, the Eagles have controlled the pace of play by consistently firing shots on net while not letting their opponents do the same. Against Providence and Maine, Boston College averaged 16 shots per game while holding its opponents to 2.5. Similarly, this difference in shots on net has led the Eagles to six goals on the season thus far, while opponents only have one.
Goalkeeping. In a talented ACC last year, Boston College accompanied Duke in struggling to hold its own between the pipes. The Eagles had a conference-low .631 save percentage, 45 goals allowed and 2.50 opponent goals per game average last year, allowing four or more goals on six occasions. After Emily Gillespie and Carine Van Wiechen split time in goal last season, Boston College hopes it can receive better play in net with Boston University transfer Caroline Kelly.
Three things to watch
1. Maryland goalies. Entering the season, it seemed like Maryland junior goalkeeper Paige Kieft would be the full-time starter for Meharg. And while Kieft is still expected to start against Duke and Boston College, freshman Alyssa Klebasko has seen significant time so far this season and has made the most of her opportunities. The Odenton, Maryland native has played the entirety of the second half in each of Maryland’s last two games, earning a career-high three saves against UC Davis on Monday. Now, as the Terps face tougher competition, it will be noteworthy to see if Klebasko still plays such a large role.
2. Hot streaks. Over Maryland’s first three games, several members of its attack have started the season strong. Junior Hope Rose, last year’s team leader with 14 goals, has a Big Ten-most five scores so far this season. Her new midfield partner, Princeton transfer Sammy Popper, is off to an equally impressive start with two goals and four points on the young season.
3. Playing for more. According to a press release, this year’s Big Ten/ACC Cup is aligned with Fight4ALS, a “campaign that works to raise awareness and find a cure for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.” Fight4ALS founders Matt and Peggy Engleka, close friends of Maryland head coach Missy Meharg, will be involved in a pregame ceremony Friday while the cause will be commemorated by both teams and through a fan giveaway.