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Maryland field hockey prepares for tougher test at Big Ten/ACC Cup

The Terps host three other top 15 programs, playing Boston College and Duke this weekend.

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Missy Meharg and the Maryland field hockey team capitalized on their trip to the West Coast last weekend, returning home 3-0 on the season. Dominating shutouts against Pacific (3-0) and California (5-0) proved just how strong the Terrapins are on defense. The only goal they allowed all weekend came in the final seconds of a 6-1 win over UC Davis, which is still quite the result.

German defender Nike Lorenz led the Maryland offense, as she scored five goals in just the first two games. This performance earned her a rest against UC Davis, where lead forward Linnea Gonzales started to find her touch. The senior was held scoreless against Pacific, but found the net four times in Maryland’s last two matchups.

In net, the Terrapins seem pretty deep, as senior goalkeeper Sarah Holliday played just over 122 minutes without giving up a goal, and backup Noelle Frost managed a complete 70-minute shutout of her own. As Maryland was able to stay on offense most of the time on the west coast, it’ll be interesting to see how Holliday and/or Frost can handle the increased competition level this weekend.

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College Park will be the scene for this weekend’s Big Ten/ACC Cup. Maryland and No. 12 Northwestern match up against No. 13 Boston College and No. 3 Duke, with doubleheaders on Friday and Sunday. All contests are available on BTN Plus. Maryland’s weekend is as follows:

No. 13 Boston College: Friday, 7 p.m.

Boston College has played just one game in 2018, and that was a 7-0 victory over Quinnipiac. Looking back into 2017, the Eagles crashed at the end of the year, losing their last two regular season games and the ACC quarterfinals to Duke. They missed the NCAA Tournament because of the skid, and are looking to right the ship to start this season.

The Eagles are led on offense by sophomore forward Fusine Govaert, who scored twice and added an assist against Quinnipiac in the season opener. As a freshman in 2017, she started Boston College’s last 12 games and led the team in goals (including two game-winners) and had the second most shots on the team.

No. 3 Duke: Sunday, 2 p.m.

Duke’s 2017 campaign was ended by Maryland in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, so sunday’s matchup could be a revenge game for the Blue Devils. They’ve had the toughest schedule so far, but enter the weekend 2-0. Their last matchup was a 4-3 overtime victory over 23rd ranked Liberty, in which Duke lost a 3-1 first half lead.

The Blue Devils graduated two of their top three scorers from last season, and their leader Rose Tynan has just one goal and one assist in two starts so far. Duke will need her to heat up this weekend to help the team get separation. Junior goalkeeper Sammi Steele started all 21 games last season and got the call in both of the Blue Devils’ matchups so far in 2018. Her goals-against average is slightly above what it was last season after the 4-3 overtime scare, so Maryland could capitalize on some early-season rust on Sunday.