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Despite delayed start, Linda Cobano has become Maryland field hockey’s biggest offensive threat

The sophomore missed the first two games but leads the Terps in goals.

Photo by Maryland Athletics

Maryland field hockey midfielder Linda Cobano found out from across the world that she was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.

The transfer from Hanover, Germany, received a text from her mom with a tweet announcing the honor on Monday afternoon. She had back-to-back games with two goals in wins No. 10 Princeton and No. 18 Rutgers, but was still completely taken by surprise by the news.

“In Germany, we don’t have stuff like that,” Cobano said. “When you score a goal that’s great and your whole team celebrates you, but there’s nothing in the media. No one will ever know basically.

“My family sees that at home, it’s big on Twitter and they are proud of me. And that makes me really happy.”

Cobano leads Maryland’s high-powered offense with six goals Most recently, she notched her first career assist in a win over No. 5 Northwestern on Thursday.

But she’s only done so in eight games. After an intense two weeks of training camp with her teammates, Cobano didn’t immediately see the field. She was forced to miss the first two games of the season as the team waited on the NCAA to approve her transfer.

So when associate head coach Katie Bam told the midfielder she would be able to play in the third game of the season, she couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I’m just really glad that it only took two games, I didn’t miss a lot,” Cobano said. “I was the most happy person on Earth when Katie told me that I could eventually play.”

Since the beginning of Cobano’s eligibility, head coach Missy Meharg and the Terps have been confident in the midfielder’s ability. In her first game available, Meharg put Cobano into the starting lineup against No. 13 Boston College.

With a 2-1 lead in the fourth quarter, Maryland was looking to extend its lead over the Eagles to seal the deal. Cobano slapped the ball into the top left corner of the cage off of a penalty corner for her first collegiate goal.

“She definitely has a great shot and great attacking skills as well as defensive,” sophomore defender Riley Donnelly said. “She has a really quick release on her shot too, so the defense doesn’t really have time to react.”

The transfer has seen a lot of success in her short time playing, becoming a key piece for the Terps even though it’s the first time she’s been able to fully dedicate herself to the sport.

While at Maryland her academics are organized around the team, back in Germany, school was the main focus. Cobano played on a club team and said field hockey was considered a “hobby” and was a much lesser priority.

Cobano said everyone involved in Maryland field hockey has been very helpful with her adjustment, but her roommate, sophomore forward Bibi Donraadt has helped her the most. A native of the Netherlands, Donraadt has already gone through the process of being a first-year international and has always been there for Cobano.

“She always has an open ear when I found something was off, that was really different from home” Cobano said. “She can relate.”

And while things can sometimes feel strange off the field for Cobano, on the field, everything seems to fall perfectly into place.

The midfielder has shown the ability to learn quickly and play in different positions on the pitch. This versatility has been a huge part of Maryland’s success so far this season, and will continue to be key for Meharg as the Terps chase a national championship.

“She is very coachable,” Meharg said. “She’s very eager to trust the leadership, trust a new coaching style… she’s just able to play wherever we call upon her to play. She’s played in the backfield, she’s played in the midfield and now she’s really attacking out of the midfield.”