Maryland field hockey is in the Final Four for the first time since 2013, and the Terps are in action in Louisville against the Michigan Wolverines on Friday afternoon. The teams last met on Sept. 29, when Michigan picked up a last-second win in double-overtime. Since then, the Terps have won nine of 10 contests after a 6-5 start.
Scouting Report: No. 3 Michigan (21-2, 8-0 Big Ten)
Michigan will face Maryland in the fourth Final Four appearance in program history, and the Wolverines first since 2003. Like Missy Meharg noted on Tuesday, not much has changed about the Wolverines since the last time the Terps faced them.
It’s not like they’ve had a reason to change anything. Since beating Maryland back in late September, Michigan has won 13 straight games, with an average margin of about three goals a game, and a Big Ten Tournament title to go along with it. Their team’s standouts consist of four very experienced graduate students, the national leader in save percentage in goal, and Meg Dowthwaite, a sophomore midfielder who led the team with 46 points off 19 goals and eight assists.
There’s no denying that Michigan looks to be the better team on paper, but it appears as though the momentum might be getting a bit into the heads of the Wolverines. In their game preview, for example, they have scouting reports for not only Maryland, but also UConn and UNC, as if they expect to make it into the next round.
Hubris aside, Meharg understands that her squad’s opponents mean business, and the only way to have a chance at an upset is to show the Terps mean business too. She said the team will look to rely on their press and energy, two parts of the game that Meharg believes Maryland surpasses Michigan in.
It was that kind of play style that gave the Wolverines problems in the first round against Syracuse. The Orange outshot their opponents and kept Michigan on the defensive with their press. Even when the team adjusted to the press, it still took an overtime victory for the Wolverines to get the win.
For what it’s worth, Maryland does lead Michigan 16-2 in their all-time series. However, while the second loss might have only come this year, the first one came in 2001, when the Wolverines beat the Terps to win the national title.
How to watch, listen and follow along
Friday, Nov. 17, 4:45 p.m. (ET), Trager Stadium, Louisville, KY
Live Updates: NCAA stat page, Terps Field Hockey Twitter page, my twitter page