After suffering its first loss of the season Sunday at Penn State, Maryland field hockey will travel to Indiana and Iowa this weekend hoping to return to winning form.
Missy Meharg has spoken about Maryland’s offensive power before, and it’s something that the team needs to spark again. In the Terrapins’ 1-0 win against Ohio State, Maryland had 22 shots, but just one goal to show for their effort. “It’s a low scoring game in general,” Meharg said after that game. “We’re used to scoring goals, so it feels funny when we don’t ... we just got to stay at it.”
Maryland, who stayed at No. 2 in the polls despite falling, actually led Penn State 13-11 in shots during the 3-1 loss, but the one goal in the last five minutes of the game with the team down three. Going forward, the Terrapins will need to look for more quality chances, and especially rejuvenate their penalty corner offense that scored so often at the beginning of the season.
Two road matchups in conference play will help give Maryland a chance to try some new ideas out before the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments commence in a couple weeks.
Indiana (4-9, 1-4)
Friday, 3 p.m. ET, BTN Plus
The Hoosiers will come into Friday’s matchup on a two-match win streak, including a conference shutout of Michigan State for their first Big Ten win of the season. Overall, though, Indiana has had a tough season. The Hoosiers’ record of 4-9 make them the second-worst team Maryland has faced, as Michigan State is currently 4-11.
Sophomore midfield/forward Kelsey Giese leads Indiana in goals (3), shots (39) and shots on goal (17). Giese had a breakout match against Saint Francis, where she scored twice, assisted once, and had nine total shots. The Hoosiers haven’t put together much offense this season, and if anyone could make a push, it’d be Giese.
The team has also struggled to defend well, giving up an average of 2.38 goals per game. As long as Maryland can get back to putting quality shots on net, it should have a chance to get this bounce-back victory.
No. 8 Iowa (11-3, 3-2)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
The Iowa Hawkeyes will provide the next real test for Maryland after their fumble against Penn State. Their record of 11-3 can partially be attributed to their rather lacking non-conference schedule, where the Hawkeyes played just four ranked teams, and have not beaten a team ranked higher than 14th. They can still be a dangerous team, but still aren’t toughest Maryland have faced all season.
Junior midfielder/defender Katie Birch and sophomore forward Maddy Murphy are the top offensive threats for Iowa, as both have over 20 points on the season. Murphy leads the Hawkeyes with 10 goals, while Birch has seven goals and eight assists so far. Together they have combined for 84 total shots, which is just under 43 percent of all shots by the team.
Iowa’s defense is its strength, as the team has not given up more than two goals to any opponent all season. However, each occasion of two goals allowed resulted in a loss. All three defeats were at the hands of top-14 teams at the time, including second-ranked North Carolina. The Hawkeyes average giving up under six shots per game to opponents, and even when they get those shots, Leslie Speight is there to stop them. The junior goalkeeper has logged every minute in net for Iowa this season, and is actually over the 1,000-minute mark. Her goals-against average is just 0.69, with a save percentage of almost 80 percent.