After a 12-day layoff due to a bye, No. 13 Maryland (5-3, B1G) travels to Iowa City for a matchup with the No. 2 Hawkeyes (9-1, B1G) for a two-game series.
“We are so excited to get on the road,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “Awfully excited that Iowa is playing such great hockey and they have a lot of returners from last season, so they are very seasoned and very sophisticated. We’re in a good spot having come off a bye to play them this weekend in a double header.”
One area that the Terps will look to build on against the Hawkeyes is their success with penalty corners. In its two-game series against Indiana, Maryland scored three of its eight goals off of penalty corners. Defender Riley Donnelly played a big part in that with three goals in the last two games and a team-high five on the season.
“I played with Riley my whole life, so I mean she is a defender but she is also very versatile,” midfielder/forward Taylor Mason said. “I have played with her in club when she was playing forward and midfield, like I’m not surprised at all because her skill set is very versatile.”
The Terps have also worked on their fundamental skills during the layoff.
“We have been working a lot on footwork and individual defense,” Mason said. I’m really excited because we have been taking these points of emphasis and bringing them to training and all the girls are with us, so we are fully prepared for this game.”
However, Iowa has an explosive offense in its own right led by forward Maddy Murphy the team leader with five goals. Midfielder Ellie Holiday is the team’s leading facilitator with five assists, while goalie Grace McGuire serves as the defensive anchor. She has only allowed four goals in 10 games this season and leads the Big Ten with six shutouts.
“I just applaud Iowa,” Meharg said. “They are from a region in a country that does not have high school or club hockey so what [head coach] Lisa Cellucci and the administration has afforded to the University of Iowa and the women who play there is phenomenal. I think what makes them so special is their discipline to the game even though they are not in a layed in hockey area. Their coaching staff is outstanding and always has been.”
The first game will begin Friday at 5 p.m. followed by the second game on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., Friday evening’s contest will air on the Big Ten Network.