Terps Shut Out Rutgers as Defense Shines

By Daniel Chavkin

University of Maryland’s field hockey team tallied another shutout on Sunday afternoon, beating Rutgers 4-0 at the Maryland Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park, Md.

“From start to finish we dominated possession,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “Our backfield was stellar in terms of [our] tackles and [our] intercepting.”

Senior defender Sarah Sprink led the way with two goals, both coming off of joint assists from senior forward Katie Gerzabek and junior midfielder Anna Dessoye.

Sprink’s first score came off a designed corner penalty less than five minutes into the game. Her second goal, from the top of the circle on another corner penalty with less than five minutes remaining in the game, capped off the scoring for the Terps.

Senior defender Sarah Sprink led the Terps way with two goals on Sunday. (Courtesy of UMTerps.com)
Senior defender Sarah Sprink led the Terps way with two goals on Sunday. (Courtesy of UMTerps.com)

The defender’s increase in scoring, most notably on penalty corners, has not gone unnoticed by teammates.

“We’ve been able to build the people around her, especially with the new combination [in the backfield], so her confidence is at a peak,” senior midfielder/forward Maxine Fluharty said of Sprink. “We have [a] great support team around her so she’s able to make those fantastic plays and use her skills to her advantage.”

Fluharty added a score of her own less than 12 minutes into the game when she pushed a rebounded shot past Rutgers goalkeeper Shevaun Hayes.

Meharg praised Fluharty in her postgame comments, referring to the senior as “extraordinary” and “the heart and soul of [the] team.”

Freshman forward/midfielder Moira Putsch added to the Terps’ attack when she beat Hayes less than 12 minutes into the second half, her ninth goal in 15 games.

With three games remaining before conference tournament and postseason play begins, Sprink stressed that communication is the key to continuing to sustain defensive success.
“When you communicate early enough [to] organize the players, then that doesn’t give a lot of space for the other team,” Sprink said. “They have to be very innovative to go through us right now because we are so talkative, getting in the spaces, and having each others back.”

Sunday’s victory was the eighth straight the Maryland field hockey program that appears to be peaking at the right time.

“We’re all getting comfortable with each other,” explained Sprink. “We just have that intensity that we didn’t have in some other games.”