When Towson walked into Maryland’s Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex, there was no way the Tigers could have known they were about to face the most aggressive offense in their opponent’s history, but that’s exactly what the Terps gave.
After starting the season 1-2, Maryland evened its record in dominant fashion. The Terps fired a school-record 58 shots, which resulted in eight goals, and shut Towson out completely on the other end. The Tigers didn’t get a single shot off.
Maryland began the first half with the offensive firepower that fans have come to know the team for. After two minutes of back-and-forth play, the Terps took their first shot of the game and, from then on, refused to relinquish possession.
Junior forward Linnea Gonzales gave the Tigers loads of trouble early on as she was responsible for half of the Terps’ shots on goal at that time less than 10 minutes into the first half. She finally broke the seal on her third shot attempt off of a penalty corner, her first goal of the season.
Maryland continued its barrage on Towson’s defense and got off 12 more shots before junior forward Julie Duncan clanked in her first goal of the season from the far right of the penalty circle. The team matched its shot total from the Big Ten/ACC cup with that goal and went into halftime with a 2-0 lead. Coach Missy Meharg certainly welcomed the offensive change of pace.
“We had been plagued a bit during the beginning of the season in getting goals,” she said. “But certainly if you take that many shots, it’s highly probably they’re going to go in.”
It was hard to believe, but the Terps’ offense was somehow able to look even better in the second half. After firing off their now-typical litany of shots—15 to be exact—the clock struck the 20-minute mark and the shot bombardment turned into a goal bombardment.
Gonzales was able to add another point to the scoreboard with a goal from just outside the cage, her second of the season. Less than two minutes later, Julie Duncan got in on the doubling action with a tipped-in high loose ball. Sixty seconds passed and senior midfielder Lein Holsboer scored her first goal of the season off of a rebound, bringing the score to 5-0.
Goal number six for the Terps came off of the stick of senior midfielder Brooke Adler, her first of the season and the first points of her Maryland career. First-of-the-season goals from senior defender Carrie Hanks and sophomore forward Lizzy Dessoye brought the score to its final, 8-0.
For coach Meharg, the stats were nice to look at, but she placed more value in the team learning how it felt to see the goal line, especially with the team’s next opponent being a top-10 squad.
“In soccer, field hockey, low-scoring games, every goal matters.” she said. “That feeling of scoring a goal, as an attacker, stays with you when you’re sleeping and dreaming about it. I’m hoping for osmosis and hopefully will get some of those great goals on Sunday.”
Maryland returns to the complex to finish the invitational against No. 9 Louisville on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Three things to know
- This team is becoming comfortable with one another. Team cohesion can sometimes be difficult when there are a lot of changes to a staff and roster, but don’t tell the Terps that. After the game, Duncan mentioned that the halftime speech that spurred the team’s offense did not come from coach Meharg, but from conversations fostered from the players, showing that they can motivate themselves to do great things.
- Freshman standouts were on full display. While freshman midfielder Kyler Greenwalt did not get on the scoreboard, she was able to register seven shots, four of them on goal. Defender Hannah Bond held a strong backline that prevented any shots from Towson and was able to get an assist.
- The Terps have never been this offensively aggressive. Their 58 shots broke the previous team’s record of 51 which was done against Radford back in 2000. Maryland won that game 11-2, so at least the defense was better this time.