With just over six minutes to play, the score between Maryland field hockey and Northwestern remained knotted at one.
Maryland had a great chance to take a one point lead on its fifth penalty corner of the game. But Northwestern made the defensive stop and quickly got to work
After a Northwestern defensive stop, the ball was fired up down the entire field and past the entire Maryland defense to 2019 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Bente Baekers. With only Noelle Frost to beat, Baekers fired a shot from the right side of the shooting circle.
Frost came sprinting from the back of the cage to try and stop the shot from Baekers. The ball deflected off Frost, but unfortunately for Maryland, it was not enough. It slowly trickled into the back of the net. The goal was reviewed, but went in the Wildcats favor.
The Terps couldn’t notch a goal to tie the game back up, falling to Northwestern, 2-1, in a back and forth affair.
“Bente Baekers is a very skillful player,” Maryland head coach Missy Meharg said. “I just think we have to take the risks and continue growing together.”
The Terps and the Wildcats both had stretches of momentum and counter-attacking throughout a very even first 15 minutes, showing it would be a close game early. But despite the pace of play, not a single shot reached the cage for either team in the opening quarter.
Fast tempo and free flow were continuous themes in this one, a game well set up for the speedy sophomore midfielder Emma DeBerdine. DeBerdine displayed her dynamic play just a few minutes in as she shot down the right side of the field and past the Northwestern defense, even though she was not able to get a shot off.
Just under 14 minutes in, Maryland earned the first penalty corner of the game. The ball was fired in to sophomore defender Maura Verleg, who held it down for fellow star defender Riley Donnelly. Her shot, the first real scoring chance of the game, was stopped by a Northwestern defender on the right side of the cage before it could reach the goal.
The back and forth type of play continued well into the second quarter. With around 12 minutes to go in the first half, Emma DeBerdine crossed the ball into the middle of the Northwestern shooting circle. Mayv Clune received the pass with a golden opportunity to score her first goal of the young season, but Northwestern freshman goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz made a fantastic kick save.
After Frost made a big save on a penalty corner with 8:32 left in the first half, Maryland had a great chance to take a 1-0 lead as Brooke DeBerdine found her younger sister Emma deep in Northwestern territory. DeBerdine centered the ball to sophomore forward Sam Zwyna, but Skubisz made another sparkling save.
While Frost continued to look solid in cage, Northwestern’s momentum was too much with just over six minutes to play in the half. On its second penalty corner of the match, the ball was fired into redshirt senior Lakin Barry at the top of the shooting circle. An absolute rocket appeared to be deflected, and ended in the top of the net for a 1-0 Northwestern lead.
The high tempo and aggressiveness from Northwestern continued until the end of the half, as the score stayed at 1-0 through 30 minutes of play.
The Wildcats continued to come out firing early in the second half. With 13:18 to go in the third quarter, the Wildcats earned their fourth penalty corner of the game. Noelle Frost made another great save, keeping the game intact and perhaps changing the tide for the Terps.
About a minute later, Taylor Mason fired a shot into the back of the net from the left side of the shooting circle. However, the officials waived off the goal, much to the confusion of the Terrapins. But, Maryland still remained in possession.
Seconds later, Riley Donnelly had the ball at the top of the 23-meter line for the Terps. She swung a pass over to junior forward Bibi Donraadt at the top right side of the shooting circle. Donraadt rifled a shot towards the right side of the goal, and Skubisz had no chance to make a save for the Wildcats. The ball ended up in the back of the cage, and the Terps evened the game at 1-1.
“The girls are just so happy for me,” Donraadt said on her first goal of the season. “It was fun, but they’ll be supportive and we were tight again. [I’m] ready to score some more goals.”
Northwestern had an incredible opportunity to regain the lead with around two minutes to play in the third quarter. All-Big Ten forward Bente Baekers stormed down the middle of the field alongside Lakin Barry with only one Terrapin to beat. Baekers scooted the ball past Maryland’s defense, leaving just Barry and Frost. Frost made yet another incredible kick save to keep the contest knotted at one.
The Terps continued their strong play for the rest of the third quarter, earning two more penalty corners after Frost’s save to get to four on the day. Emma DeBerdine passed the ball into Mayv Clune on the fourth, whose shot trickled just to the right of the cage. The game remained tied at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter started where the rest of the game left off. Both teams exchanged runs up the field throughout the first couple minutes, but could not get anything going.
Northwestern earned the first penalty corner of the quarter with 12:23 to go in regulation as Mackenzie Keegan was brought down right in front of the Maryland cage. Frost made yet another save on the floor, and continued her remarkable performance on the day.
Maryland was not able to get any more real scoring chances throughout the rest of the quarter, as Northwestern’s defense really tightened up. Baekers’ goal was ultimately the difference maker, and Northwestern beat Maryland, 2-1, for the second time in three games.
“I’m pleased, obviously,” Meharg said. “Never accustomed to accepting losing, although the reality on the wins that we had throughout the quarters was very promising for us.”
Three things to know
1. High tempo and aggressiveness dominated this game. Both teams came out firing when it mattered most, starting the first and fourth quarters with seemingly equal chances on both sides of the field. While Northwestern controlled the second quarter and Maryland got the better of the play in the third, it was a very even contest with both teams using speed and athleticism to their advantage.
“I think the culture of Maryland field hockey plays fast hockey and I don’t think we’re ever going to be able to play differently,” Meharg said. “I think the reality is we actually just played deeper in defense, which I thought gave us an incredible opportunity to counter-attack and have good looks and good full shots...the pace is how we like it.”
2. Noelle Frost put in another strong performance in net. Despite the two goals she allowed, Maryland would not have been in the game if it was not for another extremely strong performance by Frost. With multiple kick saves and using the turf to her advantage, Frost easily was the reason this was a close game throughout.
“Noelle is just a great goalie,” Donraadt said. “We know that we can always rely on her. Her saves, also her coaching and leadership skills. I just really trust her being back there.”
3. Maryland needs to be crisper with passing. Throughout the game, the Terps had multiple chances in the center of Northwestern’s shooting circle. However, there were certain circumstances where Mayv Clune, Sam Zwyna and the other Maryland forwards could not handle the passes.