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No. 4 Maryland field hockey vs No. 3 UConn preview

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Two storied programs meet once again.

Maryland field hockey Missy Meharg Sarah Sopher / Testudo Times

Coming off its first victory over a top five team this season, No. 4 Maryland field hockey faces another top team in the nation, No. 3 UConn Huskies. The Terps are currently on a seven-game winning streak, hot off a 2-1 double overtime victory over No. 5 Northwestern on Thursday. While the Terps are streaking, so are the Huskies, as they come into College Park after winning six straight.

In recent years, these two teams have had a lot of extremely close games in important situations. In 2017, UConn defeated the Terps 2-1 in the NCAA Championship, but most recently, Maryland has gotten the best of the Huskies. Last season the Terps beat UConn 4-2 in the regular season and picked up a 2-1 overtime victory in the tournament quarterfinals.

No. 3 UConn — Sunday, 12 p.m.

The Huskies come into this matchup with a 10-1 record, and their resume includes six wins against ranked teams. The most impressive of those came against then-No. 16 Northwestern and then-No. Princeton. UConn’s lone loss of the season came in a 3-2 road loss against current No. 9 Michigan.

The Huskies have been one of the premier defensive teams in the NCAA this season, allowing 0.90 goals per game and posting five shutout victories this season.

While the defense has been dominant, UConn’s offense ranks among the best, averaging 3.45 goals per game. Similar to Maryland, the Huskies fire off a ton of shots per game, averaging 19.5, while the Terps average 20.3. They have also outscored their opponents 33-9.

Both teams have also been successful in limiting their opponents shots. Maryland has limited their opponents to just 8.5 per game, while UConn has allowed just 7.7. These similar offensive and defensive units should provide another great top-five matchup.

Players to know

Svea Boker, senior forward, No. 22. Boker had a phenomenal year in 2018, totaling 52 points on 18 goals and 16 assists. The German native has picked up right where she left off and is on pace for another great year. So far this season, the senior has posted 26 points with 11 goals and four assists.

Cheyenne Sprecher, redshirt sophomore goalkeeper, No. 0. Sprecher started all 23 games last season, finishing 19-4, while posting 87 saves and allowing just 1.28 goals per game. This season, the keeper has played even better. The redshirt sophomore has already totaled 48 saves and has allowed 0.83 goals per game. In the 2018 regular season matchup against Maryland, Sprecher recorded a career high nine saves. She has also earned National Field Hockey Coaches Association Defensive Player of the Week honors this season.

Antonia Tiedtke, senior defender, No. 20. While there aren’t any individual stats to prove a defender’s worth, the veteran has been a crucial part of the team’s success. Like Sprecher, Tiedtke has earned a NFHCA Defensive Player of the Week honor this season. Not only has she made her impact on the defensive end, but the senior also is tied for the team-high in assists with eight.

Three things to watch

  1. Can the Terps continue to protect their house? Maryland hasn’t lost at home since 2017, currently on a 19-game win streak at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex. They’ll look to continue this streak against UConn, who is the highest ranked opponent to come to College Park this season.
  2. Can Maryland convert on penalty corners? Penalty corners have been a key for the Terps all season long, but they haven’t been able to capitalize on any in the past two games. Maryland leads the nation in drawing corners with 102 on the season, but it has to start scoring on more of them.
  3. Another chance for a top five win. This past Thursday, Maryland was able to pick up its first victory over a top-five team against No. 5 Northwestern. The Terps have another chance this Sunday against the Huskies.