Maryland field hockey found better luck in its second trip to Michigan this month with a 4-1 victory over Michigan State off of the high-powered, and now well-rested, offense fans have grown to know well.
The Spartans wanted to follow the lead of past Maryland opponents and employ a “bend, but don’t break” strategy on defense. Instead, they did a better impression of Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, with a “bend and snap” approach. The Terps spent the better part of the first half pressuring Spartan defenders and forcing mistake after mistake from that backline.
Maryland was able to use this game plan to strike first when they forced Michigan State defender Bailey Higgins to mishandle the ball deep in her team’s half. Senior midfielder Lein Holsboer was able to pounce on the mistake and score her eighth goal of the season with a hard-driven shot to the right of the Spartan keeper.
Even when it seemed like Michigan State was able to slow down Maryland’s offensive prowess, the Terps still found ways to threaten to score. Sophomore defender Kelee Lepage doubled the Maryland lead to 2-0 off a smooth pass from Holsboer, her first of the season.
Higgins attempted to make up for her earlier mistake late in the second half when she led a counter-attack and fired a shot at junior Maryland goalkeeper Sarah Holliday for the Spartans’ first real opportunity of the game. However, Holliday was able to kick away the attempt and the teams took the 2-0 score to halftime.
Maryland was able to take the offensive energy from the first half into the second. Less than two minutes into the new period, Madison Maguire was able to fire in a shot right past the Spartan goalkeeper in open play to give the Terps a 3-0, and her second goal of the season.
But Maryland quickly realized what could potentially happen when there is still plenty of game time left. About 10 minutes after the Terps’ goal, the Spartans got a point on the board off the stick of Lauren Bonness, her second of the season, to make the score 3-1.
From that point, momentum seemed to shift. Had Maryland’s backline not held as firmly as it did, Michigan State might have been able to tie or even take the lead in this game with the amount of opportunities the Spartans made for themselves in the remaining time. At one point, they came close to bringing the score within one, but their second goal was waived off because of the shot was deflected by a foot.
With that lifeline, the Terps decided to put the game away. The team pushed a counter attack into Michigan State’s penalty circle which gave sophomore defender Bodil Keus a clear shot on goal to bring the margin back to three and give the Terps a 4-1 lead.
Maryland now moves to 7-5 on the season, 3-2 in Big Ten play, and (hopefully) out of their most recent slump. The Terps return to the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex against Liberty at 4 p.m. ET.
Three things to know
- Maryland spent the first half showing off its conditioning. The Terps had a week to prepare for this game and try to bounce back from their heartbreaking loss against Michigan last week. The frustration from that game, and their extended rest, boiled over and created a team with their foot on the gas pedal for basically the entire game.
- Late sloppiness still showed. A late yellow card awarded to Sophie Giezemann punctuated a less-than-stellar second half. The offensive pushes led to some defensive mistakes that would have resulted in worse punishments had their opponents been better.
- Holy Holsboer, Batman! The senior was everywhere Friday, getting involved in the first three Maryland goals with a score and two assists. When she wasn’t scaring Spartan defenders in the penalty circle with her quick passes and dribbles, she was running around to help the backline when the Terps gave up their first goal to Michigan State, so as not to let it happen again.