Maryland Field Hockey Leans on Experience as They Take Down Michigan

After losing last Sunday to the then No. 11 Northwestern University Wildcats, the 8th-ranked University of Maryland Terrapins relied on their most experienced players to bounce back with a come-from-behind, overtime thriller. The Terps beat No. 9 Michigan, 3-2, on a rainy night in College Park.

Maryland was behind twice in the second half but rallied back on goals from graduate student and current Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Grace Balsdon and graduate student Welma Luus, before fifth-year senior Emma Rissinger won the game with an incredible shot in overtime.

The Terps pressured the Wolverines right at the start of the game but a quick counterattack led to two Michigan corners.

Michigan was opening the scoring just over 17 minutes in when Carly Bennett jumped on a rebound and slipped the ball past goal-keeper Sarah Holliday.

Maryland brought in Sarah Bates to replace Holliday following the goal.

“[Holliday]’s had some tough beginnings of games in the last three or four games,” said Maryland head coach Missy Meharg after the game, “and we wanted to give her a break.”

Maryland has outshot its opponents 181 to 97 this year coming into the game but trailed four shots to eight at the half as the Wolverines carried their one-goal lead into halftime.

The Terps came out firing at the beginning of the second half and earned a corner just 40 seconds in, but official video review overturned the call and Michigan was able to hold onto their narrow lead for another 13 minutes. With 26:24 to play, Balsdon took advantage of a corner and rocketed a shot past Michigan goal-tender Sam Swenson from the top of the circle and tied the game at one.

Michigan refused to back down, however, and with 15:30 to play beat Bates with a deflection and took back the lead.

With only 9:20 left in the game, Velma Luus whipped a loose ball above a lunging Swenson to tie the game again and force overtime.

Emma Rissinger finished off an incredible centering effort by Luus and sent the Wolverines home just 3:33 into overtime with a spectacular diving shot as she went to the ground.

“The Terps, that’s what they do,” said Maryland fan Elizabeth Leathers, “they might be behind but they always find a way to come back.”

Maryland will look to continue their success when they host Old Dominion on Tuesday.

“I think it’ll be tough [moving forward],” said Terp parent Robin Gonzales after the game, “but if they keep playing as a team like this they’ve got a good shot.”

Featured image by Lindsey Collins.

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