Maryland field hockey advanced to the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament with a 2-1 defeat of Albany in College Park on Friday afternoon.
A first half that was dominated by the Great Danes (16-5) preceded a powerful early second half where the No. 2-seed Terrapins (20-2) scored two goals in less than two minutes, which would be enough to push them forward. Albany made a late push, but a game-tying goal was waved off and Maryland hung on.
Albany got things started just before the seven-minute mark thanks to its offensive pressure. On their second penalty corner in one possession, the Great Danes had a shot saved by Sarah Holliday, but the rebound fell to the corner of the net, where Viola Von der Mühlen was able to tap it into the back of the goal.
Maryland ended the first half with a 4-3 lead in shots, and both teams had two penalty corner chances, but Albany’s possession game was just too much for the Terrapins to overcome.
The Terrapins responded early in the second half. Nearly the entire first five minutes were spent pressing the Great Danes, and a penalty corner goal by Bodil Keus in the 41st minute evened the score at 1-1.
With the score tied just over a minute later, Maryland caught Albany’s back line pushing forward and was able to counter. The Terrapins swarmed the great Dane’s zone and a five on three forced goalkeeper Melissa Nealon to charge out, leaving the net open for a Bibi Donraadt tap in. The freshman’s 13th goal of the season gave Maryland its first lead of the game.
As the final 10 minutes started to tick away, Albany found itself with a prime chance to tie the game up off of a penalty corner. Luckily for Maryland, Hannah Bond was there on the rush out of the net and blocked the Great Danes’ shot away.
With under four minutes left to go, Albany pulled Nealon for an extra attacker. An offensive push and continuous rips towards the Maryland goal resulted in a penalty corner as time expired. The Great Danes were able to get a shot on goal, but a Holliday save and an infraction gave Albany one last chance. The second corner was inserted and the Great Danes found the back of the net, but it was waved off for being over top of Sarah Holliday.
The Terrapins will match up in the second round with the winner of Connecticut and Rutgers on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
Three things to know
- Maryland still has some weak spots. You can put blame on the weather or coming down off a championship high last week, but the Terrapins really struggled to answer in the first 35 minutes. Head coach Missy Meharg said that Maryland will look to “recover mentally and physically” ahead of Sunday’s second-round game.
- The Terrapins’ attack can be unstoppable. As seen to start the second half, Maryland has one of the best offenses in the nation when it presses. With so many weapons, it’ll be hard for any team to match the Terrapins defensively. “For me what stood out was we had to play a lot of two-touch hockey,” defender Bodil Keus said. “We’re always talking about Barcelona [the Spanish club] in practice ... and that’s what we actually did in the second half.” Maryland plays best when the Terrapins play their “pass and receive” hockey, and this game was a prime example of that.
- Respect will be the key on Sunday. The Terrapins have beaten both Connecticut and Rutgers this season, but Maryland understands that each team wouldn’t make it this far if it didn’t deserve to. Keus and Hannah Bond both mentioned after the game that respecting either opponent and what they’re capable of will help Maryland prepare for Sunday.