By: Max Marcilla
As the night got colder, and the rain fell harder, the No. 8 ranked Maryland Terrapins field hockey team got better.
The Terps’ resilient second half highlighted a triumphant 3-2 overtime victory over the No. 9 Michigan Wolverines, extending their overtime record to 49-20 under head coach Missy Meharg. After Maryland only recorded four shots in the first half, only one of which was on goal, the Terrapins outshot the Wolverines 16-7 in the second half and overtime.
“To me, once we came out of halftime, [you could tell that] Maryland was the team that was going to win the game,” Meharg said after the win. “You could feel it. I didn’t have a hesitation.”
Grace Balsdon, who won the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors last week, scored her 10th goal of the season in the win. She leads the team, one goal ahead of Welma Luus, who also scored on Friday.
“Grace is a world-class player,” Meharg said. “She’s fiercely competitive, but she can be even more competitive on her fellow teammates.”
Another one of the main reasons for the come-from-behind victory was redshirt junior goalkeeper Sarah Bates, who played nearly 55 minutes in relief of starter Sarah Holliday, who was taken out in the 19th minute.
“Sarah Holliday and Sarah Bates are both exceptional goalies. They both are very good communicators,” Meharg said. “Sarah Holliday looked off-balanced and was struggling. She is there for Sarah Bates and Sarah Bates is there for her.”
Bates, who set her career-high with six saves, made two critical saves in the final minute of regulation to preserve the 2-2 tie.
“I think that as a goalie, your first saves are your most critical,” Bates said. “Just constantly staying in the game – it helps so much mentally and physically. Those saves at the end definitely helped with going straight into overtime and being prepared.”
However, at the end of 70 minutes, all that mattered was which team would strike next. Just over three and a half minutes into sudden death overtime, Emma Rissinger punctuated one of the Terps’ best wins of the season with a shot that found the back of the net.
“We know that this team, if we play our best, can beat any team,” Rissinger said. “We know that. And I think tonight, especially in the second half, we really showed it.”