By: Max Marcilla
It took 100 minutes of game time and a penalty stroke shootout, but the No. 2 Maryland Terrapins field hockey team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 2-1 victory over Massachusetts.
“Well one of the things we talked about at halftime is that our defense was horrible,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “But we had a good discussion at halftime. I’ve been really pleased with our team this year because at halftime, they’re very coachable and they follow whatever game plan is set.”
Whatever game plan Meharg set clearly worked, as the Terps outshot the Minutewomen 17-5 after the first half.
However, it wasn’t until there was just 65 seconds remaining in regulation that the Terrapins tied the game. Graduate defender Grace Balsdon was awarded a penalty stroke, which she converted to even the score at one.
“I tend not to think about the bigger picture,” Balsdon said with a smile after the game. “We’ve come across that scenario a couple of times in the games previously… we’re well prepared.”
Once Balsdon gave Maryland the lead, one Terp was extremely confident that her team would come out on top.
“We try not to give up any belief or hope throughout the game,” defender Carrie Hanks said. “As the minutes dwindled down, and we got that stroke and she put it in, we all knew that’s what was meant to happen.”
Hanks was integral in the Terps win because of her heroics in the penalty stroke shootout. The junior from Niskayuna, N.Y. scored the first goal of the shootout. Goalkeeper Sarah Holliday came into the game in relief of starter Sarah Bates and preserved the shootout win.
“We’re really fortunate with Sarah and Sarah,” Meharg said. “They’re very selfless and they accept the leadership here, the coaching, and their teammates. Whichever one is called upon, they’ll just do their role.”
With the victory, the Terps live to play another day. Meharg’s squad will take on the winner of North Carolina vs. Stanford on Sunday in College Park.