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Behind a strong defensive showing, Maryland field hockey takes down Ohio State, 2-0

The Terps bounce back and move to 2-1 on the young season.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Just over four minutes into Maryland field hockey’s match Friday, it appeared that Ohio State was in control. The Buckeyes hadn’t scored yet, but they earned the first three penalty corners of the afternoon

However, Maryland goalkeeper Noelle Frost reached out and knocked away the shot out of play on the third, seemingly shifting the momentum. The Terps gained possession immediately and stormed up the field with the ball. Ohio State was flustered on defense, leading to an immediate scoring chance for Maryland.

Just over a minute later, senior midfielder Brooke DeBerdine accelerated into the left side of the Ohio State shooting circle. The ball deflected right onto midfielder Kyler Greenwalt’s stick, who struck the ball into the back of the net. The senior midfielder’s second goal of the season put the Terps ahead by one with 11:06 remaining in the first quarter.

Maryland fought off 10 penalty corner attempts throughout the match, led by a shutout performance from Frost in the 2-0 victory.

“Ohio State really had a lot of penalty corners,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “Certainly, the way Noelle, for us, played in cage gave us the outcome.”

The senior has only allowed two goals through three matches this season, playing a crucial role in the team’s 2-1 start in 2021.

Following the stop on the third corner, the Terps basically dominated the rest of the half, assuming possession for most of it.

Maryland had a couple real chances to extend its lead, despite only having two penalty corners in the entire half. The Ohio State defense made some nice stops before the ball could reach Buckeyes goaltender Aaliyah Hernandez, including a blast from Maryland midfielder Belle Bressler with just over 4:40 to go until the halftime break.

The first half ended with Maryland still up 1-0. Frost shined in goal during the first two quarters with five saves, including a diving stop halfway through the second quarter.

The Buckeyes dominated the penalty corner battle early, leading it 8-2 after the first 30 minutes of play. But the Maryland defense stopped them from capitalize on any such chances in the first half, including two opportunities in the second quarter where they didn’t allow a shot off.

Briefly into the third quarter, the Buckeyes earned their ninth and 10th penalty corners of the match. Still, the Terps stood strong and didn’t allow a goal and remained up 1-0 heading into the final frame.

Coach Meharg noted the team’s athleticism, specifically midfielder Brooke DeBerdine’s, as part of the reason why the Terps were so solid against Ohio State’s penalty corners.

“Whenever you have an athlete like Brooke DeBerdine to put pressure on the play at the top of the circle, then you’re going to be in position for the other team to have to be exceptional at their decisions,” Meharg said.

Maryland still hadn’t had any free chances of its own, but that finally changed in the final minute of regulation as the Buckeyes attempted to stop a Mayv Clune breakaway. Riley Donnelly was able to step up to the spot and slot home the final dagger on a penalty shot with 57 seconds remaining to stamp the victory.

“We had some very strong segments,” Meharg said. “Thankfully in the fourth quarter we played some very good session hockey and were able to come [out] at the end there.”

Three things to know

1. Kyler Greenwalt looks like Kyler Greenwalt. The senior midfielder has been looking to get back to her old self ever since she tore her ACL on Oct. 21, 2018. It appears that she has done just that, which is amazing news for the Terps. Greenwalt’s first quarter goal, her second of the season, got the Terps going in this one.

“We’re just so happy for her,” said Meharg. “Being a senior and being able to be here this spring and play a competitive season. ... It’s just great to see her back there and I think this is probably the healthiest that she has been here and only to get stronger.”

2. Noelle Frost has been outstanding in the cage. Frost’s return to Maryland this season as a graduate student has done wonders for the team. Picking up her second shutout in three games and only allowing two goals in 180 minutes this season, the Glenwood, Maryland native has been nothing short of outstanding.

“I just felt very calm, more or less, the entire game,” Frost said. “Just making sure that the most important thing was keeping everyone on the same page and making sure the ball does get out of the goal, but more or less just staying calm, collected.”

3. Maryland remains unbeaten against Ohio State. Maryland’s 2-0 win was the 14th in 14 games all-time against Ohio State. However, it was the team’s closest result against the Buckeyes since Sept. 21, 2018. Ohio State competed with the Terps for the majority of the game, but the Maryland defense kept its opponent at bay.