The top-seeded Maryland Maryland field hockey team punched its ticket to the Big Ten Tournament championship game with a 3-2 overtime win over No. 4 seed Northwestern Friday.
This game was a big redemption game for the Terps, as the Wildcats handed Maryland their only loss in Big Ten play this season.
Like the game in Evanston, the Wildcats struck first. In the seventh minute, Kirsten Mansfield scored her sixth goal of the season off a penalty corner to put the Wildcats up 1-0. However, the Wildcats’ lead didn’t last for long. Maryland would equalize on a penalty corner in the eleventh minute, as Grace Balsdon scored her 13th goal of the year.
The early story of this game would be penalty corner success, and Northwestern would continue the trend in the 20th minute as Isabel Flens gave the Wildcats the lead on her 16th goal of the season.
Despite many chances for Maryland in the half, including a 14-5 shot advantage, the score would stay 2-1 going into halftime.
In the second half, the pace of the game stayed the same, with Maryland pressuring Northwestern in their zone and the Wildcats unable to create chances in front of net.
However, the Terps got a spark of energy and never let it go for the rest of the game. In the 54th minute, Sophie Pelter would tie the game for the Terps, her fourth goal of the season.
The rest of the second half was back-and-forth, where it seemed that no team gained a real advantage. Maryland would catch a big break towards the end of the half, as a yellow card was called on Flens. At the end of regulation, the score remained tied at 2-2.
In the overtime period, the Terps played to a 6-on-5 advantage because of the Flens penalty. This ended up being the deciding factor.
Just a minute and 41 seconds into the period, Welma Luus would again come in the clutch for the Terps, as she scored her 15th goal of the season to send Maryland to the championship game. Luus was in the perfect position as a shot from Carrie Hanks came right to her in point-blank range, and she buried the shot between the Northwestern goalie’s legs.
Now, the only thing between Maryland and a Big Ten Championship is No. 2 seed Penn State. The Terps will take on the Nittany Lions at noon on Sunday. The game will be broadcast on BTN.
Three things to know
- Home dominance: Maryland keeps its perfect record at home. Though the Wildcats have been their toughest opponent in the Big Ten this season, putting up a fight today, the Terps held their ground and are now playing for the Big Ten Championship and home-field advantage in the NCAA Tournament.
- Leadership of Welma Luus: The Big Ten Player of the Year showed us today why she deserved that award as she stepped up to win the game for the Terps. Along with the goal, Luus also tallied an assist, her third of the tournament. She is a force to be reckoned with, and the Terps will need her to continue her good form on Sunday.
- Maryland can walk the walk: This game showed us why Maryland was the Big Ten regular season champions and the No. 3 team in the nation. Though down early, Maryland fought back and won late. Wins like this show the true character of a team, and this Maryland team is one that looks hungry to win a national championship.