Leah Crouse’s overtime goal propels No. 3 Maryland field hockey to win over No. 8 Michigan 

Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

For the second straight game, No. 3 Maryland field hockey (8-1, B1G 2-0) needed overtime against a top 10 team. This time, they secured the win, a 1-0 shutout victory against No. 8 Michigan (4-4, B1G 0-2).  

Maryland held a 7v6 player advantage after Michigan’s forward/midfielder Sarah Pyrtek earned a ten-minute yellow card for tackling midfielder Leah Crouse late in the fourth quarter. 

Maryland used the woman-up to their advantage, dominating possession, earning a penalty corner three and half minutes into the first overtime. 

On their eighth penalty corner of the game, they finally found the net after being unable to find the game winner on an overtime penalty corner in Tuesday’s loss.

“We met with the coaches, and they gave us a new structure, a new setup of how we were going to run the ball and what our priority was,” Crouse said. “I think it ended up really working for us. We took a more aggressive approach.”

Crouse received the ball off the insert and opted to pass the ball to midfielder Danielle van Rootselaar who took the shot.

Michigan’s goalie Anna Spieker blocked the shot, but Crouse got the rebound.

Crouse hit the ball through Spieker’s legs for the game-winning goal.

“There’s one less player…so you can’t put top pressure on the ball, so it gives you that real chess game to be able to read the situation,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “She could have taken it herself and shot or read the situation. Leah did a really good job.”

Maryland’s bench emptied with the team racing to the far goal to mob Crouse.

Crouse’s overtime game winner was all Maryland needed to shut out Michigan, 1-0, and earn their first top-ten win of the season. 

The game was a defensive battle throughout, with Michigan recording the only first-quarter shot seven minutes into the game.

The Wolverines held the Terps shotless for the first 20 minutes of the game, the longest the Terps started a game before firing a shot.

Both teams drove into the shooting circle, but the defenses broke up scoring opportunities. At halftime the teams only took five shots combined.

The Terps put the pressure on in the second half and overtime, outshooting the Wolverines 12-3, but the Wolverines found stops to keep the game scoreless.

“In the third quarter, we decided to give them a little more space and forced them to the belly,” Meharg said. “I think that worked our way.”

The Wolverines’ corner defense was sharp, stopping all the Terps’ regulation corners.

In the final minutes, Spieker recorded a big kick save on a Rootselaar shot from the top of the key, sending the Wolverines to their first overtime this year.

The late yellow card to Pyrtek proved costly as Michigan fell to 0-4 against the top 6 teams as Maryland earned the overtime victory.

“I think it definitely helped us to know that we were six against five in the field for seven and half minutes,” Meharg said. “I think we knew it, and we were very confident.”

With the win today, Maryland remains one of four undefeated teams in conference play with its two conference wins.