By Alex Rychwalski
On a dreary, overcast day at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex, the No. 8 Maryland Terrapins notched a dominant 3-0 victory over Michigan State in the Terps opening game of the Big Ten tournament.
Maryland came into the game riding a six-game win streak in part due to its improved starts to games. Players and coaches have emphasized in recent weeks the importance of starting well out of the gate, something that the Terps failed to do early in the season.
On this day, the Terps were ready to play.
Just 26 seconds into the game, Lein Holsboer scored on a strike from just inside the circle the first possession of the game. The senior midfielder is the leading scorer for the Terps with 11 goals, and her postseason experience was evident from the start.
A little over two minutes later, Brooke DeBerdine dribbled into the circle and sent a low shot just by the Spartans’ goalie and into the back of the net. The goal was the first of DeBerdine’s young collegiate career and put the Terps up 2-0.
Maryland senior defender Carrie Hanks said that DeBerdine’s goal meant so much to the team because she often passes up shots to set up her teammates, even though she is more than capable of scoring herself.
“I think everyone else was almost more excited than she was because she’s such a fantastic player and a very selfless player,” Hanks said. “We always get excited in practice when she gets these great goals, so to see it happen in the game we were really excited for her.”
DeBerdine said after the game that former Terps legend and current assistant coach Katie Bam has worked with her in practice to change her mentality and be more aggressive, something that’s finally coming to fruition.
“In practice, Katie Bam has really been working on trying to get me into a goalscorer,” said DeBerdine. “I like to pass and find the pass first, so as soon as I get in the circle they scream ‘shoot’ during practice a lot, so they’ve really been training me to get the mentality of [a goalscorer].”
Despite the one-sided feel to the game, the Terps only had a two-goal advantage at the half. They had a dozen opportunities to put the Spartans away for good, but couldn’t land the final blow.
After about 20 minutes of Terps’ scoring opportunities to start the second half, the Terps finally scored a decisive third goal.
Maryland earned a penalty corner and executed it to perfection. Bodil Keus was fed the ball at the top of the circle, and she drilled her ninth goal of the season in the corner of the goal to give the Terps their third and final goal of the game.
Maryland head coach Missy Meharg was pleased with the Terps intensity and offensive production, even if the they were only able to convert three of their opportunities.
“To come out and dominate is very motivating. We’ve been working hard on our press and counterattack, so to get 34 shots is outstanding,” Meharg said. “It’s that time of the year, survive and advance, and we’re doing that.”
The victory improves the Terps to 13-5 on the season and sets up a date with No. 5 Penn State in the semifinal round in East Lansing. The Terps notably beat the Nittany Lions 2-1 in overtime on the Terps’ senior night earlier this season.