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No. 3 Maryland field hockey vs Penn State preview

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The Terps look to avenge their only Big Ten loss from last season.

Photo by Maryland Athletics

After a perfect 3-0 performance last week, Maryland field hockey is back to being the No. 3 team in the nation. The Terps had an impressive stretch, picking up two shutout victories over Towson and James Madison, as well as a thrilling shootout win over then-No. 6 Virginia.

In addition to the great team showing, senior goalkeeper Noelle Frost was also awarded for her fantastic efforts throughout the week. The veteran posted 10 saves and the aforementioned pair of shutouts. As a result, the keeper was not only awarded Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, but also the NFHCA Defensive Player of the Week.

Now, the Terps turn their focus to starting Big Ten play against Penn State. Last season, Maryland went 7-1 in conference play, going on to win the Big Ten tournament for the NUMBER consecutive season.

“It’s our conference, we have to show them that we mean business,” Frost said. “Penn State is a huge rival of our school, just in general, so you know we wanna destroy it.”

No. 24 Penn State — Friday, 6 p.m.

Despite an 0-5 record, the Nittany Lions still came in at No. 24 in this week’s NFHCA poll. They’ve had a grueling schedule in the early part of the year, as every team they’ve faced is currently ranked.

Penn State has come up short against No. 2 Duke, No. 5 Virginia, No. 6 Princeton, No. 10 Delaware and No. 22 Old Dominion thus far. It certainly won’t get any easier for the Nittany Lions as they travel to College Park to take on No. 3 Maryland.

The team finished 6-12 in 2018, and graduated two of its top three scorers, as well as its starting goalie. The Terps have won six of the last 10 meetings between the programs, but last season, the Nittany Lions pulled out a 3-1 victory in University Park, PA.

Penn State has scored just once in each of its five games — Maryland has surrendered five goals all season. The Nittany Lions have been outscored by eight goals and they’ve been outshot by a 42-21 margin.

Players to know

Anna Simon, sophomore defender, No. 17. The German native was Penn State’s second-leading scorer, totaling 28 points — 13 goals, two assists — in 2018. This year, she is off to a slow start, much like the rest of the Nittany Lion offense. Simon only has one goal and an assist, but she leads the team in shots on goal with seven.

Alexis Horst, junior forward, No. 3. Horst leads Penn State with two goals through its first five games. She has also been extremely efficient, scoring on both of her two shots on goal. Last season, Horst was tied for the second most goals on the team with eight.

Brie Barraco, redshirt freshman goalkeeper, No. 12. In her first season seeing the field, Barraco played all 60 minutes of every game thus far. The redshirt freshman has been impressive, allowing 13 goals and saving 27 shots, though the performance hasn’t resulted in any wins.

Three things to watch

  1. Will Penn State be able to keep up with Maryland’s offense? The Terp offense has been explosive this season — it ranks ninth nationally in goals per game, averaging 3.29. On the other side of things, the Nittany Lions haven’t scored more than one goal in a game this year.
  2. A revenge game for Maryland? Last season, the Terps ran through the Big Ten, but the one roadblock was Penn State. Now, it gets a chance to avenge that loss to kick Big Ten play against the Nittany Lions.
  3. Will the Terps stay hot? Over the last three games, Maryland has outscored its opponents 12-2. Against a team struggling immensely, the Terps have a chance to continue their three game win steak on home turf.