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Maryland field hockey beats Wake Forest, 2-0, in NCAA Tournament 1st round

The Terps advance to the quarterfinals.

field hockey Gabe Fernandez / Testudo Times

The program may no longer be in the ACC anymore, but Maryland field hockey is still finding ways to win at Duke’s home field.

After pressuring their way into an acrobatic first-half goal from Linnea Gonzales, the Terps scored a late second-half brace to take a 2-0 victory against Wake Forest in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Any potential nerves Maryland could have possibly had in the national stage against a new opponent were quickly extinguished when the opening whistle sounded. The Terps pressed hard against Wake Forest and prevented their opponent from getting any semblance of rhythm.

When the team wasn’t forcing hurried passes and frantic dribbling from the Demon Deacons, the Terps took a patient, methodical approach to get the right passes into the right places for all nine of their first-half chances at goal.

Around the 12-minute mark, one of those passes made its way to Linnea Gonzales, who was able to fire off a backhand reverse shot high into the net for the game’s opening goal.

The score seemed to calm everything down for Maryland. After forcing frequent penalty corners, the Terps slowed down the chances they made in the penalty circle, and the Demon Deacons tried to take advantage. If it wasn’t for the goal post, Wake Forest would have been able to turn a set play into a tying score, but Maryland goalkeeper Sarah Holliday was able to clear out the rebound to take the 1-0 score into the half.

The second half was a sharp turn for both teams in terms of game plan. It almost seemed like Wake Forest and Maryland shared a locker room at halftime because the teams spent the early portion of the period just launching long balls forward hoping some attacker would pick it up to get the score the game needed. As one would expect if the earlier joke were true, no goals were scored as each squad immediately saw what they were doing.

After seeing her team not get anything going, Demon Deacon head coach Jennifer Averill called a timeout 17 minutes into the half. But the stop in play seemed to help Maryland remember what got them to this point in the season. The Terps pushed back and began to press Wake Forest like they did in the first half.

Reverting back to the press set up a strong counter attack that ended with sophomore midfielder Madison Maguire deflecting a centering pass into the net to double the Terps’ lead, 2-0. Maryland kept their pressure going right to the final whistle to move on to the second round.

The Terps will remain in Durham to face No. 2 Duke on Sunday.

Three things to know

  1. The Terps success started from the back. Not only did the Maryland backline hold firm and prevent shot opportunities from Wake Forest, but they also assisted in the team’s offensive pushes. The communication between the defense and the midfield really helped ignite the counter attacks that kept the Demon Deacons on their heels.
  2. Referees are not shying away from the cards. Penalty calls that normally would result in restarts are now being punished with a flurry of two-minute green cards. Both teams faced the wrath of the officials and found great players off the field in important periods of the game. Briefly missing Hannah Bond at the tail end of a close game might work against Wake Forest, but it could become a problem against Duke.
  3. The call to switch the second-half game plan was...confusing. Whether the entire team was exhausted, or coach Missy Meharg wanted to switch things up for the hell of it, the longball tactic did not work for Maryland. Wake Forest clearly did not overwhelm the Terps with their defense this game, but the Demon Deacon backline looked like a brick wall whenever pushes came from the tactic. Maryland is best when pressuring their opponents to the point that the forwards look like great defenders. It’d help the team a lot to stick to that plan.