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No. 4 Maryland field hockey beats No. 5 Northwestern in double OT, 2-1

The Terps’ stout defense led to the victory in the top-five matchup.

Photo by Maryland Athletics

Nearly a month ago, No. 4 Maryland field hockey freshman midfielder Emma DeBerdine scored her first collegiate goal in Evanston, Illinois in the B1G/ACC Cup. She came up clutch on the same field in double overtime for the Terps Thursday.

For the second time of the game, DeBerdine’s speed turned defense into instant offense when it counted. After No. 5 Northwestern tried to clear the ball away from its side, DeBerdine jumped the pass and ran into the circle slapping the ball into the left side of the cage to give Maryland a 2-1 victory.

“We just need to keep shooting and they’re just going to go in,” Emma DeBerdine said about the mindset of the team.

Since joining the Big Ten, Maryland has been winless against Northwestern in all three of its meetings on the road. This time, though, the Terps made sure to break the streak to come out of Evanston, Illinois, with a victory

With a one-goal lead, Maryland conceded its first penalty corner with just over two minutes remaining, and No. 5 Northwestern made sure to take advantage of it.

Senior keeper Noelle Frost made a diving save off the initial shot, but the rebound was grabbed by Wildcat defender Kirsten Mansfield, who swatted it into the back of the cage to send the game to an eventual overtime.

“We always say like 7-v-7 is like our time,” Lepage said. “We’ve been in these situations before and we know if we play together we’re gonna be fine. Just not letting it affect us and get right back into it.”

Maryland was able to set the tone early for this top-five matchup. It played with intense, pressuring defense at midfield and denied early offensive opportunities for the No. 5 Wildcats.

In the first half alone, the Terps poured on 11 shots, holding Northwestern to zero. Maryland finished the game outshooting the Wildcats 20-5. Of the 20 shots for Maryland, 11 were on goal.

“We double-teamed together, we were collective in our defense,” coach Missy Meharg said. “We were very strong in our back left corner [and] we held onto possession of the ball.”

This high-pressure strategy paid off early for Maryland when Emma DeBerdine jumped in front of a pass and pushed down the field setting up a great offensive opportunity.

After DeBerdine’s initial shot off the turnover, sophomore midfielder Linda Cobano was the catalyst for the offense once again. The German native corralled a rebound and dished it to senior defender Kelee Lepage, who swept the ball past the outstretched glove of Northwestern keeper Florien Marcussen. It was Lepage’s first goal of the season.

For the entirety of the first half, Maryland looked like a much more dominant team than Northwestern. With the Terps’ suffocating defense and the high octane offense, it was clear that the Wildcats were being outplayed.

While Maryland was dominating Northwestern on the pitch, the Terps only possessed a slim 1-0 lead on the scoreboard, which would get them in trouble late. They continued to make offensive pushes and draw penalty corners, but they couldn’t quite capitalize.

The Terps struggled to get it past the Wildcats’ keeper Marcussen, who saved nine shots in the contest. Maryland came into this game as the best team in the nation at drawing penalty corners with 95 on the season, but couldn't score on any of its six chances in this one with the Big Ten Defender of the Week in cage.

Still, the Terps managed to escape Evanston with their first win over a top-five opponent all season thanks to the efforts of DeBerdine. With the win, Maryland moves to 3-0 in the Big Ten, propelling itself into first place in the conference.

“The outcome is the right outcome for the quality of the play,” Meharg said. “It was probably the best connection we’ve had line to line [in a game].”

Three things to know

  1. The Terps limited the Wildcats’ strengths. Similar to Maryland, Northwestern’s offense thrives off of penalty corners. Coming into this game, the Wildcats had drawn 71 corners, which ranks in the top-ten in the NCAA. With these corners come a lot of scoring opportunities, which has been a key for Northwestern. In this matchup though, the Terps limited the Wildcats to just two corners, but Northwestern capitalized on one of them.
  2. Maryland gets its first win over a top-five team this season. For the first time this season, the Terps notched a victory over a top-five opponent. It was just the second time Maryland had the chance to get a win over a top-five team, the previous came early in the season against No. 3 Duke. In that game, Maryland just couldn’t get one in the back of the goal, falling 1-0. However, the Terrapins have picked up wins against top-ten teams including No. 6 Virginia and No. 10 Princeton.
  3. Maryland contained the nation’s leading scorer. After sitting out last season, redshirt freshman Bente Baekers has been a large part of Northwestern’s offense. Baekers has totaled 16 goals through the first 12 games, but in this matchup, Maryland allowed her to get off just two shots.