Despite tired legs and a close loss fresh in its memory, Maryland field hockey was able to win its second game in Big Ten play this season, defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes 2-1.
Maryland faced off against an Iowa defense that stood firm for the first half. The Terps were only able to force saves from Hawkeye goalkeeper Katie Jones as the backline did their best to interrupt passes into the penalty circle and poke out any dribbles. The team’s closest chance came early when junior forward Linnea Gonzales drove a shot to the left corner of the cage that Jones was able to snuff out fast.
Iowa was not without its own chances. Last year’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Katie Birch, led the Hawkeyes with three shots of her own, but none of them crossed the goal line. The teams went into the half tied at zero.
The second half began with more of the same. Iowa stifled every Maryland offensive attempt and was able to force a few tough saves from Terps goalkeeper Sarah Holliday. The frustration of not scoring might have gotten to a few of the players on each side. Gameplay became more aggressive as the clock went on and each team had a player earn a two-minute green card.
After an hour of game time, the scoreless deadlock was finally broken. Sophomore midfielder Madison Maguire was able to win the ball at midfield and made an incredible run past several Hawkeyes defenders to weave her way into the penalty circle. There she drove a shot right past Jones for her first goal of the season to put the Terps up 1-0. Coach Missy Meharg was happy to see a result from a player that has shown much promise in practice.
“We train those shots from those angles every single day,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of young forwards and she’s one of them so I’m not surprised that this eventually was going to happen.”
Less than two minutes later, Maryland doubled its lead off of a penalty corner. Gonzales was able to take the quick service from freshman defender Hannah Bond and drive it to the right side of the cage, just past the keeper. The Terps led 2-0 with eight minutes left in the game.
But the Hawkeyes were not dead yet. After an abnormally quiet game, freshman midfielder Madeleine Murphy made her presence finally known when she was able to fire a shot right past Holliday to put Iowa within striking distance of a late comeback, 2-1.
Even with a late scare, the Terps were able to hold on for the final couple minutes of the game and take their lead to the buzzer. They now move to 6-3 on the season and 2-0 in conference play. Their next game will be at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex against No. 14 Northwestern on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
Three Things to Know
- The Terps’ biggest challenge might be their tired legs. Under normal circumstances, Maryland would have certainly won this game by a more comfortable margin. But the team is coming off playing three games in six days and the exhaustion really began to show today. The Terps were plagued by missed passes and tackles that they otherwise would have made with more rest, which does not bode well for Sunday. Thankfully, they don’t face a stretch this compact until October.
- The formula to beat Maryland remains the same. Iowa is just the latest team to try to beat the Terps with a slow style of play that pounces on Maryland’s mistakes, and fail doing so. The Hawkeyes had their opportunities early, but without a first-half goal, their win probability was severely damaged.
- The younger players are showing they can take things into their own hands. After the game, Madison Maguire described her amazing run and score as “instinct.” It’s almost unbelievable that a sophomore has developed the ability weave through multiple defenders and beat an experienced goalkeeper naturally, but that just shows how great the team’s coaches and staff are at helping players develop. Those efforts from the underclassmen will be vital to Maryland’s success going forward.