College field hockey: No. 5 Maryland hands No. 1 UConn its first loss
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The fifth-ranked Maryland field hockey team beat top-ranked and unbeaten Connecticut 2-1 on Sunday with a strong defensive performance at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex. After the Terps (13-3) took the lead just before halftime, their defense battled the Huskies (16-1) all second half to hand Connecticut its first loss of the year.
The Terrapins held the nation’s top scoring team to well under its average of 5.41 goals per game and the nation’s top goal scorer, UConn’s Charlotte Veitner, scoreless.
“What a fantastic outcome,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “UConn is a team that has been to the Final Four the last few years. They won the national championship on this very field a few years ago. For us, it was an incredible amount of energy to find a way to win the game. Welma Luus and Lein Holsboer are such magnificent leaders.”
Connecticut got on the board first when Anna Middendorf scored off a penalty corner five minutes in.
Grace Balsdon answered for Maryland when she sent one into the net off a penalty corner set up by Anouk van Asbeck and Lein Holsboer in the 23rd minute.
With just over four minutes left in the half, Welma Luus gave the Terps a 2-1 lead when she scored off her own rebounded shot. She cracked a shot from the right side that hit the post, then collected the rebound and banged it in for the goal.
The Huskies took five shots in the second half and continued pressuring the Terrapins’ defense throughout. UConn pulled its goalkeeper, Nina Klein, with 2:08 seconds to play in favor of an extra field player. With 1:15 to go, the Terrapins were given a two-minute green card and finished the game down two field players.
Connecticut finished with 12 shots to Maryland’s nine. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Sarah Bates made a career-high six saves to preserve the win.
“Maryland was so mentally tough in the final 2-3 minutes left with two players down,” Meharg said. “We couldn’t be more proud of how we blocked space and stayed strong.”
The Terps' last win against a top-ranked team was Nov. 20, 2011 vs. No. 1 North Carolina in a 3-2 overtime victory for the NCAA title. This is the Terps’ sixth all-time win vs. top-ranked teams.
Maryland was tabbed as the No. 5 team in the country in the NFHCA coaches poll released Tuesday. The Terrapins have been ranked in the top 5 in 167 of 188 polls dating back to 1999.
DEFLECTIONS: Maryland is 5-1 all-time vs. Connecticut and 2-0 at home at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex vs. the Huskies… The Terps are 53-33 all-time vs. top five teams… Maryland is 154-17 (.901) in the 13 seasons at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex…Meharg owns a record of 522-126-9 (.801) in her 29 years as head coach of the Terrapins.