On Maryland field hockey’s senior day, the Terps did what their four-year players had done best for their careers: secure a big win when it mattered most, as No. 16 Maryland upset No. 6 Penn State in double-overtime.
It seemed like the teams were stuck in a stalemate for the 85 minutes they had played so far and the only thing that was going break it was some fortune. That fortune came in the form of a late scramble the ended with a Carrie Hanks goal to end the game, and secure one of the biggest Maryland wins of the season.
Maryland was able to make Penn State forget it was a top-10 squad when they walked into the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex on Sunday. Despite their attempts to get the Terps on their heels, the Nittany Lions’ offense struggled to get a shot off for much of the game, even when they made it into the penalty circle.
In the first half, the Nittany Lions were just unable to come up with an answer to Maryland in the midfield. Any time a Penn State player would get the ball, they were immediately pressure which often forced some bad decision making, leading to turnovers for the Terps.
Anyone watching their first-ever game of field hockey could have been convinced that it was against the rules to play defense on Lein Holsboer. The senior midfielder was responsible for half of Maryland’s first-half shots on goal. But the Terps were unable to convert from anything as Penn State keeper Jenny Rizzo was able to knock any ball that came near her.
The second half picked up right where the first left off. Maryland pressure forced early penalty corners, and the defense stopped most of what initially came its way. The deadlock was finally broken on the 29-minute mark when a scramble in front of goal allowed Holsboer to score her ninth goal of the season off of a rebound from the goal post. Maryland led 1-0.
The Nittany Lions were able to return the favor no more than three minutes later when they set themselves up in a similar scramble, this time in front of the Terps’ goal. Penn State’s Abby Meyers was able to slot in her rebounded shot just past Sarah Holliday to tie the game at one.
For all the time that passed without a goal, it was the Nittany Lions that made the Terps more nervous than the other way around. Towards the end of the game, it appeared as though Maryland was running on fumes, and Penn State had finally started putting the pedal to the metal. Narrow misses by Nittany Lion forwards had kept the Terps in the game, and it was enough for the teams to end regulation still tied. Meharg knew that there were lessons from the last overtime game Maryland played that could be brought into this game.
“Having that opportunity with Michigan was phenomenal,” she said. “They’re a great team and we had freshman that could learn from playing their first ever overtime game. When [Michigan] scored in the last second, it made sense that somebody up there would be on our side today.”
Overtime field hockey resembles a game of ping pong if the game of ping pong was on the back of a flatbed truck on the highway. Each team had opportunities early and often, and were really only interrupted by the very-occasional whistle. Neither team was able to capitalize in the first overtime period, but Penn State did outshoot Maryland 4-2.
But, as they tend to do, the Terps put the bad behind them and secured the win in the second overtime period. Hanks celebrated her senior day with a game-winning goal right over Penn State’s keeper to secure the sudden-death victory.
“There was this feeling of ‘we know that we can do it’ and continue to dominate,” Hanks said. “I just caught a pass and shoveled it [towards the goal]. I didn’t know it had gone in until I turned around and saw people celebrating which I thought was a good thing. I haven’t found much words for it yet. It’s incredible.”
Maryland now moves to 10-5 on the season and 5-2 in conference play. The Terps’ next game will be in Charlottesville to take on No. 4 Virginia on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 5 p.m. ET.
Three things to know
- The unsung hero of the game? TV timeouts. A top-25 matchup between two storied field hockey programs in the final home game of Maryland’s season is some prime content for the Big Ten Network. High exposure for a sport like field hockey is always great. But the sweet relief of a TV timeout is even better, especially when your style of play includes you running at 100 mph for the entirety of the game. The breaks helped the Terps regroup whenever they lost their way, and catch a breath or two.
- Hannah Bond is good at field hockey. Hot take, I know, but hear me out. The limited chances Penn State had can be attributed to the freshman defender running her way around the entirety of the penalty circle to pick off centering passes and disrupt attacks. It was also cool to see her get a hard, physical stop on Maryland-transfer Moira Putsch in what seemed to be a one-on-one opportunity.
- “They are who we thought they were.” The quote is more or less how Maryland has approached every top-team this season, which often can’t be said of their opponents. Maryland played up to their opponents as the team knew who it was up against. Penn State did not and was caught off-guard by the Terps’ game plan, which forced them to leave College Park with a loss.