No. 11 Maryland field hockey returns home with tough test against No. 5 Michigan

(Courtesy of Maryland Athletics)

After splitting last weekend’s series against Iowa, Maryland (6-4, 4-2, B1G) returns to College Park for the second time this season and plays No. 5 Michigan (7-2, 5-0, B1G) in a two-game series on Saturday and Sunday at noon. 

The Wolverines are entering the series on a four-game winning streak and lead the Big Ten with a 5-0 conference record. 

“We are super excited to welcome Michigan into town,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “They are very deep and talented. We are more than prepared. I think for us right now it is just about the luxury of being home, finally getting our fans and being at 50% capacity and playing a two-touch style of hockey.” 

The Terps offense is looking to rebound after last weekend’s tough outings. In two games, the Terps mustered a total of nine shots and one goal. One of the keys to getting Maryland’s offense back on track is the success of midfielder Kyler Greenwalt. Greenwalt is coming off of a Torn ACL two years ago and has returned to playing in the majority of the games.  

“It definitely feels good,” Greenwalt said. “This is probably the best I have ever felt ever since tearing my ACL two years ago. I didn’t really know if I would ever get back to this feeling and it’s just amazing.”

Despite Maryland’s offensive struggles recently the defense has shined. That defensive success in recent contests was highlighted by defender Rayne Wright’s diving stop on Sunday against Iowa. Goalie Noelle Frost is coming off a strong weekend as well, where she totaled nine saves.

“I’m so excited about these defenders and where they are going,” Meharg said. “They are embarking right now on the most difficult task of defense and that is communicating with the line in front of them. We have a catalyst in Frost. She’s very direct and lets them know exactly what she wants really early.”

The Wolverines are led by forward/midfielder Sarah Pyrtek who leads the team with four goals and goalie Anna Spieker who has five shutouts and only has allowed four goals all season. The team as a whole has only allowed five goals.

Welcoming the Wolverines to College Park, the Terps will be able to play in front of more typical crowds for the first time this season.

“It’s exciting to play at home for the next two weekends especially because we can have more fans, which will be very fun,” forward/midfielder Brooke DeBerdine said. “We really just need to focus on us, but they are always a fun team to play and it’s always a great game. They have a lot of great players and we know them really well and they know us really well.”

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