By Nathaniel Harold
The No. 2 ranked Maryland Terrapins Field Hockey team increased its winning streak to four games on Sunday, after defeating the No.18 ranked Old Dominion Monarchs 3-1.
Redshirt senior and star goalkeeper Brooke Cabrera, whose stellar play over the last two weeks has fueled the team’s recently dominant stretch of play, once again led the Terps.
When asked about Cabrera’s play, Anna Dessoye, a junior midfielder, replied with a laugh.
“I think she’s awesome. She is, isn’t she? I think Brooke always plays hard, I think she always gives it all she’s got, and I think today just proves how well she can do,” Dessoye said.
Over this current two-week stretch, Cabrera has only allowed one goal in a span of four games, including three shutout performances.
“I think I’ve just found a better rhythm and I’m more comfortable on the field,” Cabrera said. “I always was, but I think I’ve just been able to dominate a lot more and the communication from the backfield has really helped. We’ve had, you know, on-and-off issues with it, and now that we’re all talking to each other, it’s been really, really helpful for me.”
While the backfield communication was better overall on Sunday, there were a few instances where Old Dominion broke through the back line. Cabrera was forced to come out of her position on these breakaway chances, but her athleticism, anticipation and self-described “instincts” allowed her to make numerous sprawling and highlight-reel saves.
Along with the skill and athletic ability, Cabrera also has the right attitude it takes in order to stop those high-quality scoring chances. When asked whether she welcomes the challenge of breakaways coming at her, she said, “Oh yeah, I mean, it’s definitely an attitude I took on, just being aggressive and dominating in the circle felt really good.”
Another positive trend that the Terps continued on Sunday was their deadly efficiency on the penalty corner. Both Dessoye and senior midfielder/forward Maxine Fluharty scored on penalty corners in the game, which head coach Missy Meharg described as “nice plays and perfectly executed.”
Along with Dessoye and Fluharty’s scores, freshman forward/midfielder Moira Putsch added her seventh goal of the season, while senior midfielder/defenseman Steffi Schneid and senior forward Katie Gerzabek each added assists.
“Well, I mean they’re finishers, they’re goal scorers,” Meharg said when asked to evaluate the importance of these particular players’ contributions this season. “Their desire is very deep, and we’ve been talking a lot about creating a Maryland mentality, and that mentality is put pressure on the ball, get rid of the ball in three seconds and not shoot, so pretty simple.”
Coach Mehrag also discussed the performance of the team as a whole.
“I think our goaltending and our deep defense is really beginning to mature,” Mehrag said. “I was very impressed.”
This growth must continue if the Terps hope to keep their winning streak alive, especially with Penn State looming on the schedule this Friday.