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For Maryland field hockey, 2nd-half success has its limits

The Terps have dominated teams after intermissions, but haven’t gotten off to enough strong starts.

maryland field hockey Gabe Fernandez / Testudo Times

The Maryland field hockey team began to acknowledge that being a “second-half team” had its limits on Tuesday, when the Terps broke their four-game winning streak with a loss to No. 17 Princeton.

Only three of Maryland’s 20 goals this season have been scored in the first half of games. It almost seemed routine for the team to show a strong offensive presence for the opening 35 minutes, yet end up with nothing to show for it on the score sheet.

Everything would change, however, once the Terps went marching back onto the field for the second half. They would find ways to score multiple goals in quick succession, sometimes within seconds of each other, and put the game out of reach for their opponents.

“We’ve now had a couple games, in the second half we really came out to play,” senior midfielder Lein Holsboer said. “But we have to translate it to the first half. We have to come out and dominate, because now we're coming a little bit too late and we're getting our momentum in the second half.”

Holsboer touched on the caveat to all of this late success. If an opponent somehow gets the better of the Terps in the first half (like, a two-goal lead ... hypothetically), the second-half push might not be enough to get them to a win. Coach Missy Meharg also touched on this trend on Tuesday.

“The difference for us has and continues to be instead of playing 35 minutes, playing 70,” she said after Tuesday’s loss. “We were the first to every 50-50 ball, made the simple pass and we countered and attacked and we got ourselves on the board and with a one goal difference it’s anybody’s game. We’re gonna work super hard to sustain super hard training to open up every match the way we’re finishing”

Rankings and honors

Unfortunately for Maryland, the 2-0 weekend leading up to the latest NFHCA Coaches Poll release on Tuesday did not do much to help the team in the rankings, most likely because of the Terps’ unranked competition during that time. They dropped to from No. 9 to No. 10, and after Tuesday’s loss, face another fall if they are unable to perform well this upcoming weekend.

The good news is that Holsboer and Kyler Greenwalt were each given Big Ten awards this week. Holsboer was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for her four-goal performance over the weekend. Greenwalt was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for her two-goal showing against Bucknell. This was each player’s first career weekly honor.

Up next

Maryland will look to avenge its Tuesday loss with a tough weekend ahead against two ranked Big Ten opponents at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex. The team will face No. 19 Iowa on Friday at 3 p.m. ET and No. 14 Northwestern on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

No. 19 Iowa (4-5)

2016 Record: 12-7, 4-4 B1G

Despite the losing record, the Hawkeyes will come to College Park having faced plenty of experienced competition to prepare for the Terps. They also have the standout players to match. Last season’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Katie Birch, leads Iowa with 20 points on the season (9 goals, 2 assists). Last week’s Big Ten Freshman of the week, Maddy Murphy, is second in points with 15 (6 goals, 3 assists). That being said, the Hawkeyes have yet to record a win over a ranked opponent. Maryland owns the series all time 11-3-1 and won last year’s match at Grant Field in Iowa City, 4-2.

No. 14 Northwestern (6-3)

2016 Record: 13-8, 5-3 B1G

The Wildcats’ season pedigree so far can boast of victories over No. 15 Louisville and No. 13 Stanford, as well as a four-game winning streak. Their success can be attributed to Puck Pentenga, who leads the team with 12 points (2 goals, 8 assists) and 51 shots on the season. But Northwestern’s most dangerous quality is when it tends to score. Over half of the goals for the Wildcats have come in the first half, which could cause problems to the second-half-heavy Terps. Maryland is 16-7 all-time against Northwestern and won the latest game between the two sides in the 2016 Big Ten Tournament semifinals, 3-2.