For the first time this season, No. 2 Maryland field hockey faced it’s first real adversity. The Terps went up against No. 3 Duke and struggled offensively, unable to get anything in the back of the cage.
Maryland ended the game with nine shots, including five on goal, but could never find the strike it needed, falling 1-0 to the Blue Devils in its second game of the B1G/ACC Cup.
“I just really applaud Duke,” coach Missy Meharg said. “They have a front field that is just wicked fast and interchanging. They came out with a dominant energy and it really took us a while to get into the groove. Once we did, I think we played a really good brand of hockey. I think we grew tremendously, we got a ton of information about our team.”
From the beginning of the contest, Duke was suffocating on the defensive end and turned it into scoring opportunities. After firing two quick shots on goal, the Blue Devils drew the first penalty corner of the afternoon. Off the corner, senior midfielder Haley Schleicher found fellow senior midfielder Margaux Paolino, who slapped it past senior Noelle Frost for an early 1-0 lead.
For the entirety of the first quarter, Duke (4-0) dominated in terms of possession. The Terps struggled to get any real offensive opportunities until the final minute of the quarter when they drew their first penalty corner of the game. However, it seemed like some miscommunication off the corner when the opportunity was broken up by a pass that rolled out of bounds.
In the second quarter, it was more of the same. Duke’s defense didn’t let up and it constantly kept the pressure on Maryland (3-1). Frost made several great saves in the first half, limiting the damage to just one goal after saving four shots.
“It’s great to have [Noelle] back there because it puts a lot of trust in us,” senior captain Jen Bleakney said. “I know that the defenders really trust her, and we really trust our defenders and it kinda goes up the field with that.”
The Terps were trailing going into the second half for the first time all season. Maryland answered with two great scoring chances, but once again came up empty handed. With under seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, Maryland was awarded a penalty corner.
Off the corner, the Terps slapped three shots, but all were saved by redshirt senior Sammi Steele. After the three shots, Maryland was awarded one more chance. Junior defender Bodil Keus stepped up, aimed high and ripped it, but Steele was ready for it, recording her fourth save of the afternoon.
After allowing five first half shots on goal, the Terrapins’ defense tightened things up in the second. Despite only allowing one shot on goal in the second half, Maryland still couldn’t find a way to get into the scoring column.
Three things to know
1. It was a tough first half for the Terps. Maryland didn’t record a single shot on goal in the first half. The Blue Devils did a good job of pressuring the ball and making it very difficult for the Terps to move the ball up field. When Maryland was successful at pushing upfield, they were unable to get clean looks as Duke’s defense would be able to recover.
2. Maryland’s backline made big plays. Despite having to deal with many offensive pushes from the Blue Devils, the Terps were able to get multiple stops. While it may not appear on the stat sheet, junior captain Bodil Keus shut down by poking the ball loose on various opportunities. Behind Keus, Frost did a great job in the cage saving five shots, while facing Duke’s six shots on goal.
“I think we did a good job of keeping them at bay and keeping the shots to a minimum and keeping the shots at a low angle, which I appreciate from my defenders,” Frost said.
3. Maryland held scoreless. Statistically, the Terps offense didn’t have a terrible game, but they couldn’t get it past Blue Devils’ keeper Sammi Steele. Maryland totaled five shots on goal, compared to Duke’s six. Both teams also accounted for two penalty corners each, but the difference was Steele. The redshirt senior was a wall in goal, saving four shots and shutting out the Terps for the first time this season.