Maryland field hockey travels to Penn State for two-game road trip

(Courtesy of Maryland Athletics)

The Terps (2-2, B1G) searching for momentum, continue their season with a trip to Penn State (1-2, B1G) for a two-game series on Friday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at noon.

Both teams spent the two opening weekends of the season in Virginia Beach. 

“We did have an opportunity to see Penn State and they are really really fast in their counter attacks, so in that way we will have numbers up in our counter attacks,” head coach Missy Meharg said. 

In the COVID-19 altered season, the Terps face a new challenge playing two-game series against the same opponent on Fridays and Saturdays. 

“Certainly after Friday’s [game] I have always empowered the team to be part of and maybe put [together] a game plan in place for Sunday,” Meharg said. “We did that with Northwestern [game], so we will probably do that again. It was a great opportunity for the women and staff together to figure out…what to do differently or what to do the same.” 

Earlier this week defender Riley Donnelly was announced as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for her first weekly honor. Donnelly leads the team with two goals and three assists. 

“It’s exciting,” Donnelly said. “As a defensive player, I guess it was a little bit of a shock to me. I never would have thought that I would have gotten Offensive Player of the Week as my first award.”

So far, Penn State has only scored one goal which came from forward Bree Beddnarksi in last Friday’s shootout win against Northwestern. Penn State’s goalie Brie Barraco has been one of the lone bright spots. Barraco leads the Big Ten in saves per game with an average of 6.67 and is tied for second in saves with 20. 

Maryland and Penn State are known for their big rivalry, but this rivalry extends beyond the schools, but also in terms of recruiting and Pennsylvania natives on the rosters. Eight of the 20 players are originally from Pennsylvania so it’s an opportunity for them to play against their friends and old teammates. 

“I like the familiarity part of it because you kind of know the style of those players,” Donnelly said. “So for me as a defender it is sometimes easier to defend them if I can anticipate what they are going to do because I know their style of play and favorite skill to do. So it is definitely comforting knowing like that aspect.”

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