Despite blowing a two-goal lead, Maryland field hockey was determined not to be swept by Penn State.
With under two minutes left and Penn State with the ball in its own shooting circle, the game appeared destined for overtime. Suddenly, midfielder Emma DeBerdine intercepted the ball and quickly swung it over to forward Bibi Donraadt on the right side of the shooting circle. Donraadt chipped the ball over Penn State goaltender Brie Barraco and into the back of the net to make it a 3-2 ballgame.
The late goal ultimately ended as the game-winner, giving the Terps a much-needed 3-2 victory to split the season series with the Nittany Lions.
“We’ve worked on really staying present,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “You need to take care of one time, one chance. One time, one chance.”
Just a little under four minutes in, sophomore defender Maura Verleg fired off a missile from the center of the field into the Nittany Lions’ shooting circle, where junior forward Bibi Donraadt was waiting. Donraadt deflected the ball right past the attempted kick of Barraco into the back of the cage to give Maryland the first score of the afternoon.
The Terps continued to buzz immediately after striking first, dominating possession in Nittany Lions’ territory. Barraco made an excellent glove save on a rising shot close to the cage, but was unable to get the ball out of her own shooting circle.
Maryland was relentless with its scoring pursuit and pressure on Penn State’s defense. Seconds after Barraco’s save, redshirt junior forward Mayv Clune centered the ball on net, but a diving Barraco was unable to make a stop. Sophomore midfielder Emma DeBerdine flung the ball just over the top of Penn State’s goaltender to give the Terps a 2-0 cushion.
“It was just a great team effort,” Bibi Donraadt said. “We did everything together as big Maryland family til the end, because we all work so well together.”
The Terps’ defense held strong for the remainder of the first quarter, facing four shots with Noelle Frost making one save to end the first frame still up by two.
While Maryland seemed to be playing a little looser with a two-goal advantage, Penn State, playing from behind, had to be aggressive entering the second quarter.
Earning its second of five penalty corners, Nittany Lion Bree Bednarski swung the ball inbounds from the right penalty attacker’s mark. Her pass was downed by Elena Vos and launched by Anna Simon over a diving Frost to make it a 2-1 game.
The Nittany Lions’ second quarter domination continued, with two attempts at the net in a one-minute span. Frost charged out of the net on both attempts, and made spectacular diving stops before Penn State could even get close to the cage.
With 2:57 remaining in the half, Penn State forward Abby Meyers crossed the ball from just outside the shooting circle on the left side of the field, and it trickled all the way to the right side of the circle. Bednarski, just feet away from Frost, scooted the ball past the left leg of the keeper. After a lengthy video review, the goal was upheld and the game was knotted at two.
No shots were registered by either team after Bednarski’s goal, and the first 30 minutes ended with a 2-2 score and Penn State leading the penalty corner battle, 5-0.
Frost had to make consecutive saves on Simon and Sophia Gladieux in the opening minutes of the third quarter as Penn State continued its strong play.
The Nittany Lions earned their sixth penalty corner of the game with 5:28 remaining, but Anna Simon’s chance at her second goal of the day was blocked before it could reach the net. Their seventh penalty corner followed just 66 seconds later, with Noelle Frost making a save — her ninth of the match — on Gladieux.
Emma DeBerdine had the first shot of the fourth quarter, a slight tap in the direction of the cage that was saved by Barraco. Maryland then appeared to have a great chance to take the lead with around 11 minutes to go in regulation, but junior Taylor Mason’s shot from the right side of the shooting circle flew wide of the net.
After both team’s missed penalty corners down the stretch, Donraadt’s game-winning goal gave Maryland the thrilling triumph and brought its record to an even 3-3 on the season.
“They didn’t care that they had given up, you know, the two goals, that it was 2-2,” Meharg said. “They just kept playing and I’m just really proud of them for that.”
Three things to know
1. Unlike Friday’s match, Maryland came out firing on all cylinders. The Terps came out with as strong of a first quarter as one can imagine. Both of Maryland’s first two shots ended up in the back of the cage and the Terps had a 2-0 lead within the first five minutes and 10 seconds of the game. In Maryland’s two other games with at least two goals, the Terps did not reach that mark until at least 28 minutes in.
“We were, first of all, just fired up,” Donraadt said. “Penn State-Maryland is always a big deal. So, even more after Friday...we started off so well and so fired up, we scored two goals right away in the first quarter. Luckily, we scored again in the fourth quarter before we headed into overtime.”
2. Noelle Frost was incredible in the cage, yet again. Penn State registered a whopping 19 shots — 11 of which were on goal — throughout the course of the game. Even though she allowed two goals, Frost’s nine saves and 0.818 save percentage on the day was key in elevating the Terps to victory and getting to .500 on the season.
“Noelle, again, just had a stellar day,” Meharg said.
3. Maryland was outplayed on the penalty corner battle. Failing to generate penalty corners was a consistent struggle for the Terps throughout this series with Penn State. While neither team was able to earn a corner chance in the first quarter, the Nittany Lions were able to generate five in the second. The Terps’ struggles continued in the second half, not earning their first chance until 3:05 remained. Penn State finished the game with an 8-1 corner advantage.