No. 3 Maryland field hockey battles familiar foe in the Final Four

Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

After splitting the season series No. 3 Maryland field hockey (19-3) and No. 2 Northwestern (19-4) will square off one more time in both teams’ biggest game of the season, the Final Four in Storrs, Connecticut.  

This will be the team’s first-ever matchup in the NCAA tournament. 

Maryland claimed the first meeting defeating the Wildcats in overtime, 2-1, with midfielder Danielle van Rootselaar scoring both goals. 

The teams recently played each other in the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals exactly two weeks ago, with Northwestern dominating the first half en route to a 2-1 victory as the Terps could not complete the comeback. 

“It’s the same team,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “I’m focusing a tremendous amount on our third and fourth quarter with them from when we played them a couple of weekends ago at Ohio because we played probably as well as we’ve played all year. Some of the hockey we played on Sunday was outstanding, and it’s the same style that we want to bring there.” 

Maryland is looking for their ninth National Championship and first since 2011, while the Wildcats are looking to defend their title and repeat as National Champions.  

Both teams showed resiliency last weekend in clinching consecutive Final Four appearances winning their first and second-round games in overtime or a shootout. 

Northwestern and Maryland have shown that resiliency all season with a combined 13-2 record in overtime games this season. 

In the team’s prior meetings this season, whichever team dominated statistically won the game, with the winning team firing over 20 shots. 

“It’s really important that we play our game…just focusing on capitalizing,” defender Riley Donnelly said. 

Both teams have that Final Four and Championship experience to get them back to the title game.

The Terps are looking to head back to their first National Championship game since 2018, where they fell to North Carolina, 2-1. 

“We dug a little deeper, and we definitely know that we want to play for championships and that [loss to Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals] really opened our eyes to that,” midfielder Emma DeBerdine said. “We have a great group of competitive girls on our team, and we’re just ready to win.”

The game is at 3 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+.