Midfielder Kyler Greenwalt sprinted in from the sideline towards the Richmond goal, where the ball immediately found the midfielder’s stick. She slapped it into the cage to give Maryland field hockey a 4-1 lead heading into the second half.
In the final period of Friday night’s game, the junior corralled a rebound, leading to an open cage and her second goal of the night. Greenwalt’s multi-goal performance extended the Maryland lead to 5-1.
That score would hold, as the Terps shut out the Spiders in the second half to secure their first victory of the season.
“Kyler is just such a service oriented athlete,” Coach Missy Meharg said. “She’s so quick, and her mentality is constantly on the front. She makes it exciting, she makes it her mission to close people down, to make their lives so miserable with the ball.”
Greenwalt’s 2018 ended with an ACL tear in the final regular season game, but back in action for the Terps in time for the opener, her 2019 campaign couldn’t have started any better.
“The balls going down the right sideline, I’m running down the left, I gotta get in the circle, for the support,” Greenwalt said. “Then Kelly [Lepage] and I swapped positions and it was just like memory, I swung my stick and it just happened to go in and I was just really excited.”
The Terps got out to a quick start, drawing a penalty in just the second minute of action. Forward Bibi Donraadt started the corner play for Maryland, passing the ball to midfielder Madison Maguire, who set up a shot for defender Riley Donnelly. Donnelly found the back of the cage for Maryland’s first goal of the season.
“It’s definitely a big confidence boost for me,” Donnelly said. “We’ve all been putting in a lot of hard work and just to see the pieces starting to come together is really exciting.”
Just three minutes later, the Richmond Spiders answered with a goal off the stick of sophomore Addie Nash to knot things up at one goal apiece. But the Terps drew another penalty in the seventh minute of the first quarter. Donraadt set up the corner again for Maryland, but this time it was set up for forward Jen Bleakney, who shot a rocket into the bottom left corner of the cage to retake a 2-1 lead.
Maryland showed that they were the more disciplined team, drawing 11 total corners in comparison to Richmond’s one. The Terps corners gave them early and often scoring opportunities. Of the 11 corners drawn, Maryland had seven in the first quarter and converted on two of them.
In the 28th minute, the Terps had another opportunity off of a penalty corner. This time, defender Kelee Lepage passed it to Maguire, who assisted for fellow defender Bodil Keus. The junior captain slapped a laser into the bottom corner of the goal, for her first score of the season, giving Maryland a 3-1 lead.
The third quarter was a defensive battle, as both teams totaled only four shots. The Spiders recorded their first penalty corner of the game in the 43rd minute, but were unable to capitalize.
For the entirety of the second half, the Spiders’ offense struggled, while the Terps’ defense stood strong, resulting in a great start to the 2019 season.
“I think what it shows is one we’re deep, but two, we’re fit,” Meharg said. “We just outran Richmond at the end. I don’t think they had any legs and that was the dominance that you saw.”
Three Things to Know
1. The Terps distributed the ball. Four different players scored in the season opener. Captains, Bleakney and Keus both pitched in for their first goal of the season, while sophomore Donnelly recorded her first goal of her career at Maryland. Junior Greenwalt added two goals of her own. The Terps offense also outshot the Spiders. Maryland had 20 shots (10 on goal), while Richmond only tallied 10 (4 on goal).
2. Maryland took advantage of its penalty corners. Three out of the five Maryland goals came off of set plays from the corner. The Terps showed various formations out of the corner, including using different inbounders in Donraadt and Lepage. Even with different setups, Maryland found continued success all night long.
3. Both goalies saw action. Senior Noelle Frost drew the start for the Terrapins, but sophomore Skye Joegriner had some playing time as well. Frost played 48 minutes, facing 10 shots, saving three and allowing the lone goal. Joegriner came on in the fourth quarter, playing 12 minutes, but did not face any shots.
“Noelle, this is her first start really, and it’s her turn,” Meharg said. “It was good for her to have to play several shots. She made great saves with her face right at the sun and I think that was good for her to have to make them.”