No. 5 Maryland field hockey (13-6) returns to the NCAA tournament after missing the tournament last year and will begin its bracket journey against No. 13 Virginia (12-8) at home on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
The Terps played their best field hockey of the season, and carried a four game win streak into the Big Ten Tournament before falling to Penn State, 3-2 in the Quarterfinals round.
“We, for whatever reason, did not play anywhere up to our regular standard,” midfielder Julianna Tornetta said.
The Terps are usually dominant in the NCAA tournament. They’ve recorded a 64-24 record all-time — the highest winning percentage in tournament history. At home, the Terps are 35-5 in tournament play. This is also the first NCAA tournament game in College Park since 2018.
“We are pretty fortunate that Penn State has a home football game as I believe they would be hosting,” head coach Missy Meharg said.
The Terps last NCAA tournament game came against Virginia in the 2019 quarterfinals when they fell, 1-0, in overtime. Then Virginia fell in the next round to Princeton. Maryland is 0-2 against Virginia in the NCAA tournament.
The Terps and Cavaliers also played each other in October with the Terps securing a, 2-1, win in overtime. The teams played a scoreless game until the 55th minute when Cavaliers forward Laura Janssen scored off a penalty corner. The Terps tied the game a minute with a Kyler Greenwalt goal. Forward Hope Rose won the game with her goal with 30 seconds left in the first overtime.
“Obviously we know them very well which is going to be really exciting and a good matchup,” midfielder Bibi Donraadt said.
Since these teams last met, Virginia went 3-3 and picked up a big win against Syracuse before making it all the way to the ACC Championship game and losing, 1-0, to North Carolina in the final.
Forward Amber Ezechiels leads the Cavaliers in goals with seven and midfielder Greer Gill leads the team in assists with eight.
“I think this season our record hasn’t really shown like the quality of the team we have,” Tornetta said. “I think the NCAA tournament will show all the hard work that we have been putting in the whole season.”
No. 10 Syracuse and No. 4 Penn State is the other first round matchup in Maryland’s portion of the bracket and will play at noon on Friday in College Park. Both games will be streamed on the University of Maryland Athletics website.