No. 8 Field Hockey Topped By Rutgers in Penalty Strokes, Drop Big Ten Opener

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Less than three minutes into the match, graduate student Sammy Popper weaved through Rutgers’ defense and passed to Maryland native Margot Lawn, who retrieved the ball just left of the goal and lofted a tough backhand shot into the top right of the net to score her fourth goal of the season.

The goal gave Maryland an early lead in a game that featured three lead changes, two overtimes, and a dramatic penalty shootout. No. 6 Rutgers eventually defeated No. 8 Maryland, 3-2, in the Terps’ Big Ten opener. 

A shot striking the post from Rutgers’ redshirt senior Iris Langejans served as the final look on goal of the first quarter for both teams, and the remainder of the quarter was scoreless and Maryland led, 1-0.

The Scarlet Knights entered the second quarter down a goal for the first time this season. Then, in the 22nd minute, they found the response. Rutgers’ junior Julianne Kopec found the ball near the bottom right of the field. The midfielder spun through traffic and her shot deflected off the stick of Maryland captain Rayne Wright into the goal. 

“What makes [Rutgers] dangerous is their ability to play up their right side of the field and to our backhand side,” coach Meharg said prior to the match.

Another touch by Langejans – this time off of a penalty corner to redshirt sophomore Puck Winter – flew just wide to end the second quarter, and the Terps entered halftime gridlocked at one apiece.

The Scarlet Knights didn’t lose momentum to begin the third. In the 31st minute, junior Guillermina Causarano wasted little time as she rebounded a missed shot, and in one fluid motion, sniped a straightaway shot past Maryland keeper Paige Kieft to put the home team ahead for the first time.

“[Causarano’s] just been very dominant,” Meharg stressed. “Their [roster has] lots of international flavor.”

Just five minutes later, Kieft recovered, as the junior keeper pivoted to make a crucial save off of a penalty corner shot from Rutgers’ midfielder Vicky Jure. It served as Kieft’s first save of the day and her 17th overall this season.

Then, in the 38th minute, the Terps evened things up once again thanks to freshman standout Maci Bradford. The Delaware native received the ball at midfield and raced down near the goal with a one-on-one breakaway opportunity. In a flash, Bradford crossed from left to right, leaving the opposing keeper stunned before powering a shot in.

Four missed opportunities for Maryland – on shots from Kylee Niswonger, Anna Castaldo, Sammy Popper, and Margot Lawn, respectively – concluded the third quarter, and both teams entered the final 15 tied at two apiece.

A quiet fourth quarter followed, as the Scarlet Knights couldn’t convert three shots on goal, while an early shot by junior Hope Rose served as the only chance of the quarter for the Terps. With that, Maryland headed to overtime for the second time this season.

A yellow card on Langejans in the 63rd minute left Rutgers down a player for most of the overtime period. Both teams led a footrace up and down the field until Causarano finally attempted a shot intended for the back right of the goal. But in an incredible save, Kieft blocked the ball with her left arm just inches from the goal line. 

With under a minute left in the first overtime, Winter ran up a seemingly open field in hopes of providing Rutgers with the winning goal. However, Bradford hustled nearly the entire length of the field to intercept the ball, and the buzzer sounded to end the extra period.

The Terps now entered the sixth period in uncharted territory, as it served as their first opportunity this season to play a second overtime. 

Rutgers went on attack to begin double overtime. The home team held possession of the ball for most of the period, but three consecutive blocks on goal – two by Kieft, one by freshman Josie Hollamon – kept the game alive for the Terps.

Both teams remained scoreless as time expired to end the sixth period, and Maryland headed to penalty strokes for the first time since last year’s dramatic win over Syracuse in the Elite Eight.

Kieft pressured Winter to prevent Rutgers from scoring the first goal, and immediately after, Maryland graduate Sammy Popper netted a shot to put the Terps up 1-0 in the best-of-five shootout.

Just as things started to go their way, the Scarlet Knights stormed back to convert on their second goal – courtesy of forward Marique Dieudonne – to tie it up.

The Terps went three and out on their next few one-on-one chances, as both Rose and Lawn were stopped by Rutgers’ keeper Sophia Howard. 

In a single-shot opportunity to win the match, Langejans stepped up again for the Scarlet Knights. The redshirt senior backed down Kieft inside the circle and confidently flicked a backhand shot that hit nothing but net to extend Rutgers’ winning streak to a perfect 10-0 and send the Terps down to 7-3.

Maryland looks to bounce back this Sunday, as they take on No. 16 Penn State (5-4) in its first match in College Park in 17 days.