Maryland field hockey (16-2, B1G 7-1) opens its run in the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 2 seed on Wednesday afternoon. The No. 2 seed is the team’s highest seed since earning the No. 1 seed in 2019.
In the first round, the Terps take on the hosting No. 7 seed Ohio State (11-7, B1G 3-5).
Maryland defeated Ohio State, 4-2, in Columbus in the Terps’ Big Ten opener. Maryland trailed in the game for much of the second half until scoring three fourth-quarter goals to seal the win.
Maryland is looking for their first Big Ten Tournament title since 2018 and starts against a team they’ve dominated.
“I think it does give us confidence,” forward Hope Rose said. “I don’t think we need to go out there and have too much confidence to get ahead of ourselves just because anything can happen with any team.”
A lot has changed for both teams since the Sept. 16 matchup.
Ohio State enters the tournament having won eight of their past ten games, including a season-changing upset of then No. 5 Iowa and forcing overtime against defending natioal champion Northwestern.
“They have a couple of players that are different…[but] the structure looks the same, and their key dangerous players remain the same,” head coach Missy Meharg said.
The Buckeyes missed the tournament last season, but in Spring 2021, Ohio State made it all the way to the Championship game before falling to Michigan.
The Terps picked up some marquee road wins against Iowa and Northwestern and home victories against Michigan and Virginia.
The Terps have cooled off the last few weeks, only scoring five goals over their last three games as their opponents have outshot them, but they’ve still found ways to win with stellar defensive play and a clutch overtime shot.
“Once we’ve gotten to the circle, we’ve really lacked the movement in the circle to be able to get the shot, but that’s really one thing that we have been working on in practice,” Rose said.
The Terps got Rose back, and she scored or assisted on three of the Terps’ last five goals, but they may still be without midfielder Emma DeBerdine, who has missed the past five games.
Despite the injuries and rotating goalies, Maryland has still found ways to score, with 13 players scoring and seven players with five or more goals.
“I don’t think we have hit our ceiling because we haven’t been [at] full force since the end of September,” Meharg said.
If Maryland wins, they will take on the winner of the Northwestern-Rutgers game on Friday afternoon.
“You need to be tough mentally and physically,” defender Ericka Morris-Adams said. “The biggest thing is we just need to be together as a team. I think if we play together to our strengths of how we do at home, we’ll be successful.”