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No. 5 Maryland field hockey stifles No. 6 Virginia, 2-1

Freshman goalie Alyssa Klebasko had a career-high seven saves.

Maryland bounced back after a recent loss to unranked Princeton.
Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

In her first career road start, No. 5 Maryland field hockey freshman goalkeeper Alyssa Klebasko was ready for the moment.

Leading the Terps, Klebasko erupted for a career-high seven saves to power Maryland to a 2-1 win over No. 6 Virginia (5-3) Monday night. The victory, Maryland’s first against a top-10 ranked opponent this season, put the Terps (7-2) back in the win column after being upset by unranked Princeton in their last outing.

Klebasko did not concede a goal to the Cavaliers, setting a career mark with five saves in the first half alone. The performance came after the freshman had 10 saves across her first six appearances and more than 200 minutes played.

“She’s serious about what she does,” Maryland head coach Missy Meharg said of Klebasko. “... She’s a winner, and she’s going to make big saves. She had a big stick save that would’ve put them on the board, so [I] couldn’t be more pleased with her performance.”

Playing its first road game in three weeks, Maryland’s defense looked right at home in Charlottesville. Despite not scoring in the first quarter, the Terps’ defense was able to hold the opposition without a first-period score for the eighth time in nine games.

Then, for the seventh time this season, Maryland scored the match’s opening goal off the stick of fifth-year Margot Lawn. Early in the second quarter, Lawn snuck a rebound shot past Virginia goalkeeper Tyler Kennedy toward the bottom-left of the goal for her third score of the season and second in the last three games.

Meharg, who was consistent with her starters in the field over the last seven games, made a change in the team’s final game before Big Ten play, starting senior Anna Castaldo over Hannah Boss. The decision paid dividends for the Terps in the second quarter.

In the final minute before halftime, Boss nailed a backhanded shot to double Maryland’s lead. Her two goals this season have come in her only two games off the bench.

“Hannah typically finishes on that backhand shot,” Meharg said. “It’s a specialty of hers. She can make it off of either foot and make a very quick play off of it.”

The third quarter proved to be another defensive standstill, but entering the fourth quarter it became clear that Maryland had been more effective with its opportunities. Through the first 45 minutes, Virginia had more corners and shots than Maryland, but failed to capitalize.

With less than a minute remaining, Virginia junior Noa Boterman converted on a penalty stroke to avoid being shut out. Before the attempt, Klebasko was relieved by junior Paige Kieft in net.

Maryland now has 10 days off before traveling to No. 10 Rutgers on Sept. 28 for its first conference game of the season.

Three things to know

1. Saving the ranking. Maryland’s loss to unranked Princeton threatened its chances of remaining high in the national rankings, but a win over the No. 6 team in the nation keeps the Terps’ chances high of staying in the top-10 when the poll is released Tuesday morning.

2. Klebasko’s big day. Klebasko became the first Terp to make seven or more saves in one game since Noelle Frost did so against Liberty in the 2021 NCAA Final Four.

3. A break before Big Ten play. After starting the season 7-2, Maryland will have 10 days off before traveling to Rutgers for its Big Ten opener. The Terps will play nine of their final 10 games against conference opponents.