No. 6 Maryland field hockey started out the 2017 season in the win column with a 2-1 win over Saint Joseph's, thanks to a late go-ahead goal by Sabrina Rhodes.
Losing in the quarterfinals of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, the Terps made strides in the offseason, most notably signing the top two recruits from the class of 2017. This was the first time since 2000 that the Terps began the season at home, where they have been virtually unbeatable over the past several decades.
Against the Hawks, coach Missy Meharg went young, starting four freshman, a much different look from years past. The inexperience among those freshman and the new-look Terps showed in the first half. While they held possession for most of the half, generating chances in the St. Joe's circle, the Terps were unable to put one past Hawks goalie Victoria Kammerinke.
Kammerinke had eight saves in the game and put on a stellar performance against a potent Maryland attack, single-handedly keeping the Hawks in the game.
Neither team could put one home in the first half, though chances were had for both teams. It wasn't until the second half that both teams came alive, starting with the Hawks.
Just six minutes into the second half, St. Joe's earned a penalty stroke after Maryland goalie Sarah Holliday tripped up a Hawk in the circle. Anna Willocks converted for St. Joe's, giving them the 1-0 advantage.
From then on, it was all Maryland. The Terps generated six penalty corners in the second half, and took 11 shots. Overall, they led the Hawks in both of those departments, most notably outshooting them 18-3.
It would take until the 52nd minute of the game for Maryland to score, as Bodil Keus converted on the Terps' fourth penalty corner of the game.
The score remained tied until the 66th minute, when Rhodes gave Maryland the late 2-1 lead, redirecting a shot from Brooke Adler past Kammerinke.
St. Joe's had a good chance to equalize late as Adler was given a yellow card in the 67th minute, giving the Hawks a man advantage for the remainder of the game, but the Maryland defense kept the ball out of the back of the cage, giving the Terps an electrifying opening day victory.
Maryland doesn't play again until Sept. 1, when it travels to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to play in the Big Ten/ACC Cup. The Terps’ first game is against No. 2 Duke on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.