Coming off of a road win against 2nd-ranked Connecticut, Maryland field hockey will face off against two top-15 opponents in three days this weekend.
The demolition of the reigning national champs didn’t go unnoticed, as the Terrapins (12-0, 3-0 Big Ten) swept the conference weekly awards and took the Huskies’ No. 2 spot in the NFHCA rankings (North Carolina is still No. 1). Bodil Keus took Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, Nike Lorenz took Offensive Player of the Week and Bibi Donraadt earned Freshman Player of the Week honors thanks to their efforts against the Huskies.
Friday afternoon, the Terrapins will play host to No. 15 Rutgers to start the weekend. The Scarlet Knights come in with a record of 8-3, but are just 1-3 in Big Ten play. Maryland will then travel to State College for a top-10 matchup with Penn State on Sunday.
No. 15 Rutgers (8-3, 1-3)
Rutgers is led by sophomore midfielder Daphne Groothuis, a native of the Netherlands. In 11 games this season, she leads the team with six goals and nine assists for a total of 21 points.
In goal, sophomore Giana Glatz has earned all 11 decisions this season, with a record of 8-3. She has let in 13 goals this season for a goals against average of 1.24, but has also tallied 50 saves, which is 15 more than all Maryland goalkeepers so far this season.
The Scarlet Knights haven’t been able to pull away in any matchups with ranked teams, as each game has ended within one goal, other than their 3-1 loss to No. 10 Michigan. Maryland will need to keep the pressure on and subdue any attacks if it wants to make this game an easy task.
No. 7 Penn State (8-3, 3-1)
The Nittany Lions are coming off of a weekend that consisted of a 3-2 road victory over then-No. 17 Rutgers and an 8-0 demolition of James Madison at home.
Penn State enters this weekend with a rather large cluster at the top of their stat sheet, as six players have double-digit points. Freshman defender Anna Simon and senior midfielder/forward Aurelia Meijer lead the team with 15 points each, but Simon holds the lead with seven goals.
Senior goalkeeper Jenny Rizzo leads the defense for Penn State, with an 8-3 record and goals-against average of 1.45 on the season. Similar to that of Glatz from Rutgers, Rizzo has 46 saves, which is 11 more than all Maryland keepers combined.
Penn State has proven itself to be a balanced team when attacking, as so many different individuals can take control of a game offensively. As long as Maryland can continue putting pressure on opposing defenses and limit chances, the team could keep rolling as the season comes to a close.