By: Max Marcilla
Last night, the No. 7 Maryland Terrapin field hockey team spent the night at a golf tournament. Just over 12 hours later, on a hot, muggy early afternoon in College Park, they displayed the unity built on the green in a win over California.
In the first round of the Terrapin Invitational tournament, Maryland defeated the Golden Bears 5-1. Everyone contributed to the win and it started with a familiar face: Welma Luus.
The redshirt senior scored the opening goal after just 89 seconds of game time. It was her team-leading fifth goal of the season, and it gave the Terrapins a lead they would not surrender.
“To get on the board in under two minutes is exciting and it sends a ‘readiness’ statement,” head coach Missy Meharg explained after the win.
Linnea Gonzales extended the Maryland lead with a goal in the 21st minute, and then again in the 32nd minute off a hard shot that found the back of the net.
“Linnea is a world-class player,” Meharg said. “She has been in a lot of different positions. She has found her home in being a really dominant player, right now, wherever she is asked to play.”
Gonzales’ first two goals of the season gave Maryland a 3-0 lead, but it did get a slight wake-up call immediately at the start of the second half.
California’s Melina Moore scored just 58 seconds into the second half to trim the deficit to two. But 36 seconds later, Terps freshman Kelee Lepage took the momentum right back with her first career goal.
“I think mature teams understand the energy of goal scoring,” Meharg said. “When goals are scored there’s this energy. You try to hold them off for two minutes once you score a goal.”
Fellow freshman Sophie Pelzer also scored in the second half, proving the level of goal-scoring depth the Terrapins have.
“Sophie Pelzer, Kelee Lepage… these guys are big-time goal-scorers coming out of their clubs and their high schools,” Meharg said. “I’m not surprised [they scored goals].”
It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Terrapins, who will take on the winner of the American vs. Fairfield game in the championship game of the Terrapin Invitational tomorrow.
“We get the girls some food and we get the staff out there to watch this game and scout,
said Meharg. “Then the girls will watch the second half with us. We’ll have an idea of what to ask them to take a look at. Then we’ll go to bed, and we’ll prepare, and play whoever we play for the championship tomorrow.”