After two consecutive weekends of invitationals and three of their four opponents being ranked in the American Field Hockey Coaches Association's poll, Maryland field hockey has found its way back to a winning record. The Terps got off to a rough start in Lancaster during the Big Ten/ACC cup, but returned to their winning ways this past weekend at the Terrapin Invitational against Towson and then-No. 9-ranked Louisville.
The Terps put on a record-breaking performance against the winless Tigers, with an offense that fired off 58 shots and scored eight goals, and was able to continue the offensive intensity against Louisville with a 19-shot, one-goal victory. It seems, as the adage goes ... Maryland field hockey is back, folks!
One of the things that has worked to the team’s advantage has been its array of goal scorers. Eight different players have put the ball past goalkeepers this season, including two defenders and two midfielders. That variety has been something coach Missy Meharg has talked highly of.
“We've traditionally had one great goal scorer," she said on Sunday. "But this year, we have a variety of players who can finish. When you can get a lot of penalty corners, you put yourself in position to get on the board."
The Terps will start their Big Ten regular season title defense on Friday against Indiana with a high-powered and assorted goal-scoring offense ready to start a non-invitational streak of games.
Rankings and honors
While Maryland has not fully returned to its initial preseason ranking of No. 6, the team was rewarded for its undefeated weekend. The most recent NFHCA Coaches Ranking switched the team’s ranking position with Sunday opponent Louisville, with the Terps rising up to No. 9 and the Cardinals dropping to No. 11.
The team was not the only ones rewarded this week. Sophomore defender Bodil Keus was not only name Longstreth/NFHCA National Defensive Player of the Week, but was also named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. The latter was her first conference honor in her career, and the first weekly honor for Maryland this year.
The Terps will have three games over the next week to add to their newfound winning streak. They will face Indiana on Friday in Bloomington, and will face Bucknell and No. 15 Princeton at the at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.
2016 Record: 8-12, 3-5 B1G
Indiana has been on its own winning streak since its two-game slip to start the season. After beating then-No. 15 Wake Forest on Sept. 1, the Hoosiers have gone on to win three straight, including a 4-1 win against Central Michigan last weekend. During that time, senior forward Maddie Latino and sophomore midfielder Ciara Girouard are leading the team with five goals each. However, the team has had less luck against ranked teams than Maryland. Their first two games were losses against then-top-10 ranked teams Louisville and Delaware with a cumulative score of 11-1. The Terps are 4-0 all-time against the Hoosiers. The last game was won 4-1 in College Park.
2016 Record: 9-9, 3-3 Patriot League
When Maryland returns home from their quick trip away, they will be welcomed with a team that has only scored one goal against ranked teams all season. But Bucknell is not a team to be ignored. Coach Jeremy Cook came into the new season with the second-most wins in program history, and has been able to beat or at least hang around against opponents by earning more penalty corners on a game-to-game basis. Sophomore forward Brittany Willwerth leads the team in goals with five and is tied with junior defender Lexi Quick with three assists. Maryland is 6-0 all-time against Bucknell; the Terps’ last victory was a 9-0 drubbing of the Bison in 1998.
No. 15 Princeton (1-3)
2016 Record: 12-8, 5-2 Ivy
This season has been far from ideal so far for second-year head coach Carla Tagilente. After starting the season ranked No. 8 and being one of nine teams to receive a first-place vote, the Tigers have dropped three of their first four games to a .250 record and a No. 15 ranking. Of course, it’s not like Princeton’s schedule has been particularly easy. Among their opponents have been then-No. 1 North Carolina, then-No. 3 Delaware and current No. 3 Penn State. The offensive bright spot has been senior forward Ryan McCarthy, who leads the Tigers with two goals and one assist. The Terps are 20-10-1 all-time against Princeton, with the last game ending in a 2-1 victory for Maryland on the road.