Despite outplaying No. 5 Michigan for the majority of the match, No. 11 Maryland field hockey conceded what would be a dagger of a third penalty corner with just under 13 minutes left in regulation.
Michigan midfielder Kathryn Peterson inserted the ball swiftly to defender Halle O’Neill. O’Neill glanced at the net, but then swung the ball over to forward Katie Anderson. Anderson quickly left it for midfielder Anouk Veen, who shot a rifle towards the bottom of the cage. The ball deflected off the pads of Maryland goalkeeper Noelle Frost, and up into the back of the cage.
After about a two minute review, Veen’s goal extended Michigan’s lead to two, a lead Maryland could not catch. The Terps lost to the Wolverines 2-0, as Maryland could not avoid the series sweep.
“I feel a little bit of a déjà vu from yesterday’s game from a standpoint of dominating,” Maryland head coach Meharg said. “We took 13 shots to their six and had seven penalty corners to their three.”
A beautiful day in College Park, Sunday’s match got off to a much faster start than Saturday’s.
Michigan earned the day’s first penalty corner just 42 seconds in. Midfielder Nathalie Fiechter made an outstanding sliding stop, but the Wolverines earned another corner just seconds later. This one was blocked by forward Mayv Clune before it could come close to reaching the net.
“I think our defense was well,” Fiechter said. “But, I would rather focus on what we can do and we could have been more effective in the way we push out, we stop the ball, and we execute our corners.”
With just under five minutes to go in the first frame, the Terps earned their first corner of the game. Midfielder/forward Taylor Mason — Saturday’s lone goal scorer for the Terps — had a look at the cage but Michigan blocked the ball before it had a chance to find the back of the goal.
The first quarter wrapped up scoreless, but Michigan held an advantage in both shots and penalty corners. Maryland had just one shot on goal and one corner while Michigan took three shots and had two corners.
The Terps came out with pressure in the second quarter, and earned their second penalty corner of the game just about a minute in. Defender Riley Donnelly’s shot was kicked away by Michigan goalkeeper Anna Spieker, but the Terps earned another penalty corner immediately after.
Michigan’s defense continued to show why it is one of the nation’s best goalkeepers, as Veen made a defensive save on Donnelly.
Maryland had a phenomenal opportunity to strike first as freshman forward/midfielder Anna Castaldo split through the entire Michigan defense. The ball trickled over to Clune, whose shot went just inches wide of the net.
The Wolverines capitalized on the Terps’ missed chance almost immediately.
A long pass upfield found a Michigan player deep on the right side of Maryland territory. Her pass was crossed to midfielder Lora Clarke, who made a short, crisp centering pass to forward Tina D’Anjolell. D’Anjolell was able to knock it off Maryland goalkeeper Noelle Frost, get her own rebound, and chip it over the goalie.
Michigan cashed in first, leading Maryland by one with about ten minutes to play in the first half.
Wolverine midfielder Nina Apoola was handed a green card with under two minutes in the half, but Maryland was unable to capitalize on the player-advantage.
While Maryland earned the penalty corner advantage by halftime, Michigan still held a 1-0 lead.
The Terps started off the third quarter strong with consecutive shots from Clune and Emma DeBerdine. Both were saved by Spieker, but Maryland was beginning to put something together.
Maryland continued to threaten into the third quarter, earning its fourth penalty corner of the day about halfway through the period. Spieker saved the initial shot by Donnelly, and the attempt off the rebound by midfielder Kyler Greenwalt was high.
Continuing to dictate the quarter, the Terps earned their fifth penalty corner of the match. Taylor Mason had a look at the cage, looking for Donraadt off her own corner, but the ball was not able to reach the net.
Even though Maryland has six shots and two penalty corners to the Wolverines’ zero in both categories, the third quarter wrapped up with Michigan still leading Maryland, 1-0.
A shot by forward Katie Anderson early into the fourth quarter set the tone for today’s finish. Shortly after, Michigan earned its third corner of the match, where Veen’s goal extended the lead to two.
Maryland earned its sixth penalty corner of the game with about six and a half minutes to play. Michigan’s defense, led by Spieker with great height at 6-feet, made consecutive stops including a block on Donnelly’s shot.
“I think [we need to improve on] turning our possession into creating opportunities to actually capitalizing on them,” Fiechter said. “I think the stats said we had a lot of shots today, a lot of corners, and we need to work on capitalizing on them.”
Maryland finished the day with 13 shots and seven penalty corners, but not being able to produce goals ultimately haunted the Terps in the end. The Big Ten champion Michigan Wolverines completed a sweep of the Terps, who fell to 6-6 on the season.
“We’re doing everything we can to learn about these opponents and we’re playing only Big Ten,” Meharg said. “And [to] be in position, obviously, first for Rutgers coming into town, but just to learn so much so that we can be in position to win the Big Ten Tournament and go to the NCAA’s. Why not?”
Three things to know
1. Head coach Missy Meharg made some tweaks to Maryland’s starting lineup. In today’s rematch with Michigan, Maryland was forced to make some lineup tweaks. Sophomore midfielder Belle Bressler ended up starting in place of star midfielder and captain Brooke DeBerdine, who was out for the match according to a team spokesperson. In addition, freshman forward/midfielder Anna Castaldo made her third career start while defender Rayne Wright came off the bench.
“What is really great about this team is we have a lot of different looks,” Meharg said. “We are constantly experimenting with different shapes and presses... We have different people. Nathalie [Fiechter] played the central which is the field general and actually was player of the game because she really gave us so much structure in the center in the third and fourth quarter.”
2. Despite Michigan scoring first, the first half was virtually even. In the first half, each team seemingly and statistically had the same number of chances. Maryland and Michigan each fired off four shots, two of which were on goal per team. The Terps also led the penalty corner battle at the end of the half, 3-2. It was a high tempo half, and each team had some solid opportunities.
3. Even in defeat, the Terps outplayed the Wolverines. Even though Maryland was missing one of its best players today in Brooke DeBerdine, the Terps put together maybe their most complete game of the season. Maryland led in every offensive statistical category, including shots, shots on goal and penalty corners. While it is definitely a tough loss for Maryland, the players put on a great performance.
“I’d personally like to see more discipline in our training environment with getting the outcomes,” Meharg said. “And more taking it personally when it doesn’t happen and figuring out why and making the adjustment. I’m confident we’ll keep doing that and keep growing together and have a tournament that we will be very proud of.”