Graduate student Margot Lawn inserted a penalty corner for the Terps with just under 10 minutes remaining in the second half. Then, in one swift motion, Maura Verleg collected the pass at the top of the circle and set up junior Hope Rose, who proceeded to snipe a shot in past three stunned defenders that hit nothing but net.
Rose’s tenth goal of the season served as the culmination of a dominant first half for No. 8 Maryland. The Terps never relinquished an early lead, as they handily defeated No. 16 Penn State 4-2.
The Terps pounced on the Nittany Lions early in the first quarter thanks to freshman Maci Bradford, who chipped a tough shot inside the shooting circle that inched past Penn State keeper Brie Barraco into the bottom left of the net. Bradford’s sixth goal of the season couldn’t have come at a better time for Maryland, giving the home team a momentum boost that would translate both offensively and defensively.
Coming off a game where she recorded a career-high seven saves on goal, keeper Alyssa Klebasko didn’t miss a beat. The freshman collected another impressive save just minutes after Bradford’s goal, this time on a blocked shot from Penn State senior Carly Gannon.
The Terps wasted little time to start the second quarter, as their constant pressure and command on the offensive end resulted in yet another penalty corner opportunity within the opening two minutes of the quarter. In an incredible effort, freshman Josie Holloman tracked down a blocked corner shot and proceeded to power a laser shot past the outstretched arm of Barraco that gave the Terps a two-nothing lead.
“We’ve been working on second-phase opportunities,” Holloman said after the game. “I’m glad I was able to execute on that.”
Maryland’s flawless penalty corner goal by Rose just four minutes later brought an end to a shutout first half in which the Terps had total control.
The third quarter opened with four tough defensive saves for Penn State – three by Barraco, one by junior Anouk Knuvers – on blocked shots from Rose, Holloman, and Lawn.
Then, in the 43rd minute of play, Holloman powered in another straight shot from the top right of the circle – her fourth goal of the season – that temporarily subdued the Nittany Lions’ momentum; however, the away team bounced back just a minute later.
In the final moments of the third quarter, Penn State went on the attack and finally converted to get on the board, thanks to a self-rebound and second-chance goal by senior Sophia Gladieux.
“I don’t think we let down,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “I think their players really started to play, and teams like that drive you crazy.”
The Nittany Lions were certainly up from their slumber. Almost immediately after the start of the fourth quarter, Gannon knocked a goal in off an assist from midfielder Mackenzie Allessie to cut the lead to two.
Both teams traded shots for the remainder of the final quarter, and another diving save by Klebasko sealed the deal as time expired and the buzzer sounded.
The Terps went to double overtime and penalty shootouts in their last match before losing No. 6 Rutgers. But today, Maryland needed just four quarters to get their first win in Big Ten conference play and move to 8-3 on the season.
“We’re always fired up, but today was a special game,” Holloman said. “We wanted to come out and make a statement, especially after the Rutgers game.”
The Terps look to win their second consecutive match this Friday when they take on Michigan State (3-6) back home in College Park’s electric environment.
“The crowd’s energy was amazing, and I think it fed into our play,” Holloman emphasized. “I’ve never been part of a game so far where we had a crowd like that.”