Maryland field hockey defeated Rutgers, 4-2, to clinch their third consecutive outright Big Ten regular season title on senior day. The win was the Terps’ eighth consecutive to close out the season.
Off a break and a cross, Scarlet Knights forward Rachel Yaney caught Terps goalie Sarah Bates out of position to score her seventh goal of the season in the seventh minute of the first period.
The early goal didn't stop the No. 3 Maryland (15-3, 7-1 Big Ten) attack, though, as the Terps continued to pressure Rutgers (9-8, 2-6 Big Ten) in their own zone. It wouldn’t be long before the Rutgers lead would go away.
Off a penalty corner in the 12th minute, Carrie Hanks would tie the game on her second goal of the season. The goal was set up beautifully by a backwards pass from Grace Balsdon, who baited the Rutgers defense.
The Terps continued to dominate the rest of the first half, outshooting the Scarlet Knights, 12-1 and winning in penalty corners, 6-0. Maryland continued to dominate possession in the Rutgers zone, but the score remained tied at 1-1 going into the half.
In the second half, the story was much different. Eleven seconds into the half, Welma Luus gave the Terps the lead on her 14th goal of the season.
Seven minutes later, Maryland made it 3-1 on Kelee Lepage’s third goal of the season, off an assist from Sophie Pelzer.
Maryland kept pouring it on the Scarlet Knights, and just six minutes later, Madison Maguire scored her fifth goal of the season to put the Terps up 4-1. Linnea Gonzales assisted on a beautifully slotted pass to Maguire in the circle.
The Rutgers attack was kept relatively quiet until the 69th minute, when freshman Nikki Santoro scored her ninth goal of the season for the Scarlet Knights, but it was too little too late as Maryland would go on to win, 4-2.
With the win, Maryland goes into the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 1 seed. They will host Rutgers again on Thursday in College Park.
Three things to know
- Maryland’s shot barrage: Unlike the Terps’ last two games against Connecticut and Virginia, Maryland had no shortage of shots in this game. The Terps outshot the Scarlet Knights 22-4 overall, and had double-digit shots in both halves. This was also the third game this season that Maryland took 20 shots or more in a game. A performance like this will only be beneficial to the Terps going into the postseason.
- Perfection at home: Maryland finished the regular season a perfect 9-0 record at home, including wins over then top-ranked Connecticut, Michigan, Virginia, and Old Dominion. With the Big Ten Tournament in College Park this season, the Terps will be feeding off home-field advantage throughout, as they try to hoist up another Big Ten Tournament Championship trophy.
- Dominance in the Big Ten: With the win today, Maryland clinched their third-straight outright Big Ten regular season title. Overall, the Terps finished with a 7-1 record in the Big Ten, defeating Penn State and Iowa among others. Now, those teams and the rest of the Big Ten will come to College Park to try to knock off Maryland in their own house.