In a game where the heat of the offenses matched the heat of the weather, Maryland field hockey’s firepower fell just short to Northwestern’s, and the Terps dropped their first conference game of the season, 3-2.
Despite an atypical first-half response from the Terps, and a quick lead in the second, Northwestern’s slew of penalty corners was too much for Maryland to handle and brought the Wildcats the victory.
From the very start of the game, Maryland faced the brunt of a Northwestern side that wanted to match the intensity of its opponents in every way. The Wildcats showed that ability when they were able to strike first, as an early penalty corner allowed forward Pascale Massey to get a shot past Sarah Holliday, making it 1-0.
First-half goals have usually been a bad omen for the Terps this season, as all of the team’s losses have come on the back of giving up early scores. This time around, however, they attacked the deficit as a side that had forgotten all of those woes. From the time the goal was scored, Maryland was keen on taking back as much of the momentum as possible.
The team was finally able to cash in the momentum for something of value with less than 10 minutes left in the first half when a failed Northwestern penalty corner turned into a four-on-three opportunity for the Terps. The end result was a close, unmarked shot for senior midfielder Brooke Adler, her second of the season, and a rare first-half goal for Maryland tie it up, 1-1. Coach Missy Meharg said she “couldn’t be happier” for Adler when the ball went in.
“She’s like the epitome of a student-athlete.” she said. “She’s not afraid to go the distance off a defensive penalty corner and then run 90 yards like that and find yourself with a goal. She’s special.”
When the second half began, the Terps picked up right where they left off. Lein Holsboer was able to bring Maryland its first lead of the game when she collected a rebound off Northwestern goalkeeper Annie Kalfas and scored her sixth goal of the season. The score, coupled with a two-minute green card given to a Wildcat defender a few minutes later, made it look like the Terps were in total control.
This wasn’t enough to discourage the Wildcats. They realized there were still 20 minutes left in the game and used every minute of it. Northwestern was able to interrupt Maryland’s momentum when they turned a bad pass into a one-on-one opportunity between Massey and Holliday. The Terps goalkeeper was able to make the save, but it was enough to get the visiting team going.
Less than one minute later, Pascale Massey brought the Wildcats level, 2-2, off a rebounded penalty corner for her second goal of the day. Despite the Terps’ best efforts, the team’s possession after the tying goal was limited and Northwestern was able to take advantage of this situation. After a trick play penalty corner, midfielder Puck Pentenga was able get her shot past Holliday to put the Wildcats up 3-2.
With five minutes left, coach Missy Meharg decided to pull Holliday from goal in favor of an extra attacker to try and knot up the score at three. But the brief offensive advantage was just that: brief. The Terps were able to put up a litany of shots, but were unable to record any goals. It certainly didn’t help that they might have had their closest opportunity lost to a malfunctioning replay unit, and officials caused some confusion with the game clock.
Maryland now moves to 6-4 on the season, and 2-1 in conference play. The team’s next game will be at Ann Arbor against Michigan on Friday at 6 p.m. ET.
Three things to know
- The Terps played very physically. Throughout the game, Terps players were in the face of every player with a Northwestern jersey, even to the point where Wildcat coach Tracey Fuchs had a few stern conversations with the officials. Even with a loss, the team made sure that their opponents got nothing easy.
- Veteran leadership kept Maryland going. Even when they were their most frustrated, Adler, Holsboer and Gonzales kept the conversations to their teammates flowing on the field. Each player was an on-the-field general leading the younger players to where they need to be in high-pressure situations.
- Maryland understands how good the opponent they just played is. It obviously wasn’t all smiles for the Terps after the game, but the players seemed confident that they did what they could to put themselves in a position to try and come away with more than a loss. They defended their passes and shot attempts, and are already looking ahead to Michigan on Friday. A narrow loss to a team that just went through a 4-3 slugfest against No. 3 Penn State won’t derail Maryland’s season.