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Maryland field hockey recovers from slow first half to beat Ohio State, 3-1

The gloomy weather was not enough to dampen the Terps’ play, as they took another conference win at home.

field hockey Gabe Fernandez / Testudo Times

Before Friday’s game, it was announced that Maryland field hockey alumni would be honored at halftime for the seasons they dedicated to this esteemed program. Throughout the game, the current team decided to honor the former players by continuing the tradition of beating Ohio State.

Despite a stagnant first half that followed an early Terps goal, Maryland was able to use its usual second-half mojo to earn its latest win against a conference opponent.

The Terps got their offense started early. Seventy-one seconds into the game, junior forward Linnea Gonzales found freshman Kyler Greenwalt wide open in the penalty circle for an easy scoring opportunity five yards from the cage, and her first goal of the season. Meharg called the goal “lovely” after the game and mentioned that it was encouraging to see new names on the scoresheet

But the quick 1-0 deficit did not do anything to discourage the Buckeyes. From the time they restarted the game after the goal, Ohio State played Maryland to quite a stalemate in the first half.

The Terps had their opportunities—10 shots to be exact—but the Buckeyes were aggressive in poaching errant passes, and mishandled dribbles, and setting up counter attacks. At one point, senior defender Carrie Hanks had to make a slide-tackle block to prevent an easy shot on goal for one of their opponents forwards.

Maryland’s defense still did its part and only allowed three shots from Ohio State. Both teams took the 1-0 score into halftime.

The downside of scoring an early goal is that the momentum tends to be short-lived and overshadowed by events happening throughout the rest of the game, something that the Terps almost learned the hard way.

The Buckeyes came out strong in the second half with somehow even more aggression than in the first half. The counter attacks that were getting stopped in the final third in the first half were getting through to the penalty circle. After Terps goalkeeper Sarah Holliday had a quiet first half, she was forced to make five diving saves in less than 10 minutes of action, including a few from penalty corners.

When the Terps restarted after the last Holliday save, their offense returned to midseason form. Gonzales was able to drive her way to the left side of the Buckeyes’ penalty circle and rip a backhanded shot that sailed into the upper left part of the cage. Her sixth goal of the season doubled Maryland’s lead.

When the ball got into the cage her excitement was definitely more animated than usual. The reason? Motivation after a pep talk from assistant coach Katie Bam.

“Katie pulled me aside before the second half and was like ‘we need to see more energy from you. we believe in you,” Gonzales said. “That really pumped me up from the start. I just wanted to make her proud because she’s a legend here and I just wanted to make her happy.”

A couple minutes later, the Terps took advantage of an awarded penalty corner when Bodil Keus was able to fire a low driven shot past the Ohio State keeper to bring the lead to 3-0, and get her eighth goal of the season.

Even with the deficit, Ohio State’s aggression remained. The Buckeyes were able to bring one goal back with less than 10 minutes left in the game, despite the best efforts of Holliday and the Terps’ backline. At one point, it even looked like Ohio State had scored a second goal, but the officials determined the shot was too high. The Buckeyes still tried to capitalize on the momentum with more counters but were unable to get anything more. The game ended 3-1.

Maryland moves to 9-5 on the season, and 4-2 in conference Big Ten play. Their next game will be on Sunday at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex against No. 6 Penn State at 3 PM est.

Three things to know

  1. This will probably be one of the more important wins of the season. Ohio State field hockey is currently at its highest level in quite some time. Their secret has been a well-conditioned squad that’s not afraid to go after the ball and earn goals through aggressive counter-attacks. This has shown to work with other more established top programs like Delaware and Michigan. With this win, Maryland has basically gotten a chance to prepare for some of the tougher squads they’ll face this season, and during the tournament, which is huge.
  2. Another freshman gets on the board. Kyler Greenwalt scored her first goal of the season and of her career as a Terp. The confidence that will arise from seeing a shot of hers go into the cage will be great for the team in its remaining games.
  3. Sarah Holliday was a brick wall. It’d be one thing if Holliday’s saves were run-of-the-mill blocks off the kneepads, but they weren’t. Holliday put her body on the line time and time again to stop the ball from getting into her cage. She never got just one save; it was always followed up with a deflection from a rebounded shot. Even the goal that went in was saved twice before an opportunistic Buckeye forward was able to slide a shot in.