Terps conclude sweep of Terrapin Invitational with 6-2 victory over American

By: Max Marcilla

In a test before the Maryland Terrapin field hockey team starts conference play, the Terps took down the American Eagles 6-2, winning the Terrapin Invitational. The seventh-ranked Terps improve to 4-2 on the season with the victory.

Maryland picked up where it left off from Saturday’s win over California, as sophomore Linnea Gonzales started the scoring for the Terrapins.

“[She’s a] great player, so smooth,” junior Lein Holsboer said after the game. “She’s such a naturally talented player. She literally just lifts up the whole team and has great goal opportunities — and scores them too.”

Gonzales, the Big Ten freshman of the year in 2015, was unable to get on the scoreboard in Maryland’s first four games. However, she has found her spot recently, scoring two goals in each of the Terps’ last two games.

“I think everybody, when they come from their freshman year to their sophomore, has a little bit of that ‘sophomore where do I belong?’” Maryland head coach Missy Meharg said. “[Linnea is] a side-midfielder. She’s really dynamic. She can release the ball so quickly from the side of the circle.”

American trimmed the Terps’ 4-0 lead down to 4-2 with 10 minutes remaining in regulation. However, freshman Sophie Pelzer quickly stole the momentum with her second goal of the weekend.

“[All of our freshman] are talented players,” Maryland captain Welma Luus said. “There are things they need to learn and get used to — the level of play and the speed of play — but they’re all so talented.”

Luus scored her team-high sixth goal of the season on Sunday, helping Maryland top American for the 16th consecutive time. The Terrapins are now 42-1 all-time against the Eagles.

With a pair of home wins in the record book, the Terps will look ahead to conference play, which starts on Saturday, Sept. 17 when they host the Indiana Hoosiers.

“Since we’ve been playing really strong teams in the ACC — and these girls, they are out of our conference — it’s just so good to [play against] all these different styles of field hockey,” Holsboer noted. “Now going into the Big Ten, it’s really cool because it’s going to be another style of play because they’re so physical.”

“I think that the game itself has become more physical,” Meharg said. “I think the speed of play and every coaching emphasis is becoming faster and faster.”

After two games in as many days, Maryland will have a few days to prepare for a test against Indiana, which has outscored its opponents 12-3 over the last three games.