Maryland field hockey narrowly escaped Northwestern, 2-1, thanks to a gritty second half of play on Friday to capture the Big Ten regular season championship.
Early pressure from the Wildcats, paired with a Maryland team that couldn’t capitalize on most of its chances, led to a close back-and-forth game until the Terrapins broke through late in the second half. Freshman Bibi Donraadt scored both goals, including the winner in the 68th minute.
Northwestern dialed up the pressure early, scoring just a minute and 33 seconds into the match. A number of Wildcats crashed in front of Sarah Holliday, and Maren Seidel was the one who poked the ball into the back of the net.
Towards the middle of the first half, Maryland would find a way to answer. After a dangerous counterattack led to a deflection out of bounds, Kelee Lepage took the reset ball down the wing and sent it toward the middle, where Linnea Gonzales passed it to Bibi Donraadt at the corner of the net to score.
The 1-1 stalemate would last until halftime, with both teams trading chances late. Northwestern carried a 7-5 shot advantage with all seven on goal compared to just one on target from Maryland. The Wildcats also held a 3-2 advantage on corners, but neither team was able to capitalize off of the set pieces.
A back and forth half lasted until the 68th minute, when Donraadt was able to put a loose ball in the back of the net after a failed penalty corner chance by the Terrapins. The Wildcats fought back to earn a penalty corner chance as time ran out, but were unable to score on Holliday.
Maryland really flipped the switch in the second half, outshooting Northwestern 7-6 (5-3 on goal) in the second 35 minutes. The Wildcats still led Maryland 6-3 in penalty corners, but were unable to breakthrough against the Terrapins’ stout defense.
Maryland will take on the 23rd-ranked Virginia Cavaliers Sunday on the road to finish out its regular season. The Big Ten tournament then begins one week from Sunday on Oct. 28.
Three things to know
- Sarah Holliday kept the Terrapins in this one. The senior goalkeeper showed up when needed and was able to put a stop to all of Northwestern’s penalty corners. Holliday spoke after the game about how the coaches put a lot of time into studying the Wildcats’ corners, which helped the Terrapins defend as well as they did. More breakout performances like this will certainly help Maryland down the stretch.
- Bibi Donraadt has really come alive for Maryland. In the second half of this season, she’s transitioned into a more complete player and was labeled as a “finisher” by head coach Missy Meharg. “We’re going to have a wonderful time with her in the spring, and teach her how to actually lift weights,” Meharg’s said. “She has put on good muscle in her legs. She just hasn’t played with this intensity and this many days a week, so we’ve just been waiting for her to be able to play in the midfield.” Donraadt could help Maryland run in postseason play as she continues to grow as a more complete player.
- The Terrapins still seem a bit sluggish. Ever since the dominating win at Indiana, Maryland has seemed rather tired and failed to get more chances than either Iowa or Northwestern. Meharg spoke about how good it was to earn the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament so the team could recover—“we need some recovery time, both for their academics and their bodies,” she said. After their game on Subday, the Terrapins will have an entire week to hopefully recuperate before postseason play comes around.