The Maryland field hockey team finished off its weekend road trip at State College on Sunday, defeating Penn State in a 5-4 thriller. The victory clinches a share of the Big Ten title for the No. 6 Terps.
Coming into the game, Maryland (12-3, 6-1 Big Ten) was riding a four-game winning streak, including a 2-1 overtime win at Ohio State on Friday. However, with such a quick turnaround between games, the Nittany Lions seemed to be a more formidable task for the Terps.
Not only that, but No. 5 Penn State (12-2, 4-2) was be Maryland’s ninth ranked opponent of the season.
But like their most recent run of form, the Terps didn’t seemed phased in this top-10 battle. And as usual, they came out firing early.
In the game’s third minute, Maryland took the early 1-0 lead on Welma Luus’s 11th goal of the season. This advantage only lasted for about a minute as Penn State would tie the game in the fourth minute.
Maryland took the lead back in the 16th minute on Madison Maguire’s third goal of the season, all of which have come in the past three games. Penn State would once again answer in the 27th minute, tying the game at two.
Going into the second period, Maryland would switch goalies, as Coach Missy Meharg decided to swap Sarah Holliday out for Sarah Bates, who had started the past several games.
Just seven minutes into the half, Maryland grabbed a 3-2 lead on Kelee Lepage’s second goal of the season. The Terps would double their lead less than two minutes later when Luus scored her second goal of the game and 12th of the season.
Just 15 minutes later, Maryland would strike once again on Grace Balsdon’s 11th goal of the season, giving the Terps a 5-2 lead.
The Terps’ commanding three-goal lead was short-lived. Just five minutes later, Penn State cut the lead to 5-3. Less than two minutes after that, the Nittany Lions scored off a redirection, making it a 5-4 game. Still, it was too little, too late. The Terps distanced themselves from another Big Ten opponent.
Maryland will travel back to College Park for the remainder of the regular season. The team’s first game back will arguably be its toughest game of the season, a clash with No. 1 Connecticut next Sunday.
Three things to know
- Maryland continued its dominance against ranked opposition. Maryland is now 7-2 in games against ranked opponents this season. Though the Terps traditionally play a tough regular season schedule, they’ve been more than up to the task this season. The Terps still have two more games against ranked opponents, UConn and No. 10 Virginia.
- Pass the baton. One of the biggest stories this season for Maryland has been the impact of freshmen and sophomores on the team. This game was no different, as Madison Maguire and Kelee Lepage both scored for the Terps. Maguire has been on quite the run, scoring 3 goals in as many games, her first three of the season and of her college career. Expect the same from Coach Meharg for the rest of the season.
- New conference, no problem. By Maryland clinching a share of the Big Ten title this year, it will be the third straight year the Terps have taken home the regular season conference title. Even for a storied program like Maryland, this is quite an accomplishment.