The Terps (6-4 B1G) will look to bounce back from an uninspiring performance against Penn State in their last home game of the season against Johns Hopkins (4-4 B1G).
Maryland took the first game against Hopkins 9-8 in overtime in Baltimore. Sophomore Hannah Leubecker was the one who scored the game-winning goal in the Terps’ most tightly contested game of the season.
However, a lot has changed since then. Maryland enters this game having lost three of its last four games, including a particularly ugly 16-9 loss at Penn State on Sunday. Hopkins has only played two games since the first Maryland game, winning them both by a combined 10 goals.
Only having one full day of practice to prepare for Hopkins may actually benefit the Terps. The coaching staff and players were not hesitant to admit they did not play their best game on Sunday, so getting back on the field sooner rather than later will give them an opportunity to put that loss behind them quickly.
“It’s not a secret we didn’t play well in our last game, so we’re really excited to have a chance to make some changes,” head coach Cathy Reese said. “We lacked a sense of urgency and we were a little slow all over the field but that’s not us. Hopefully we’ll see a faster pace game.”
When Maryland was playing well earlier in the season, it was largely due to the complementary play between its offense and defense. In their recent losses, turnovers on offense have put the Terps’ defense in tougher spots.
In the short time they’ve had to prepare for Hopkins, the Terps have emphasized getting back to the basics on offense.
“A lot of shooting, a lot of communication, just moving on offense and being more aware,” Leubecker said when asked about what the team worked on in practice. “We’ve kind of been sitting back waiting for things to happen but we need to create opportunities for ourselves.”
Another thing the coaching staff has emphasized is playing as a team rather than individuals on both sides of the ball. When the Terps have gone down in the past, the team has had a tendency to abandon the game plan and try to do too much individually.
“We kind of got really individual when things didn’t go our way,” sophomore Shaylan Ahearn said about the team’s struggles on Sunday. “We make a few good plays but then don’t execute on the opposite end and that gets in our head a little bit. Getting out of our heads and realizing we play better as a team will help us a lot.”
Johns Hopkins comes into this game having two in a row after they had a 26-day layoff due to postponements. They’ve looked like a different team after the layoff, averaging 15 goals a game since compared to just 9.5 before.
The Blue Jays are led by three main scorers: senior attacker Aurora Cordingley (24 goals, 9 assists) and graduate student attackers Mackenzie Heldberg (13 goals, 13 assists) and Maggie Schneidereith (13 goals, 10 assists).
Hopkins only trails Northwestern in the Big Ten in assists per game, so Maryland will need to be on its game defensively and execute their slides effectively in order to slow down the impressive passing display that Hopkins has put on the past few games.
If the Terps can do that as well as fix some of the offensive issues they had against Penn State, they should be able to come away with a win. If not, Hopkins has a good chance at evening the season series and getting their first ever victory over Maryland.
The game will air at 2:30 on the Big Ten Network from the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.