No. 9 Field Hockey Shutouts Michigan State

Photo by Chris Lyons/ Maryland Athletics

Maryland wasted little time getting on the board in their third Big Ten conference match of the season. Dribbling down the right side of the field, freshman Maya Everett passed to graduate student Margot Lawn, who sniped a power shot that whizzed past the opposing defense into the back of the net.

Lawn’s fifth goal of the season set an aggressive pace early for the No. 9 Terps, allowing the home team to ride the momentum as they breezed to a 3-0 win against unranked Michigan State.

In the opening minutes prior to Lawn’s goal, the Spartan defense – led by senior Emma O’Neill and freshman Serena Mailhe – pressured the Terps, running back and forth in constant attempts to steal and intercept passes in the backfield.

“[Michigan State is] disorganized in a good way,” said head coach Missy Meharg earlier this week. “A [disorganized] team can be very dangerous…you have to make organization out of chaos.”

Meharg has been switching keepers all season, alternating games between freshman Alyssa Klebasko and junior Paige Kieft. But after a huge four-save outing against Penn State last week, Meharg inserted Klebasko as the back-to-back starter again today. 

The freshman’s dominating presence in goal showed early, as the Spartans didn’t get a single shot off in the opening 15 minutes. 

Then, to begin the second quarter, Klebasko’s skillset was on full display once more. In back-to-back efforts, the Maryland keeper collected two impressive saves, both off shots from Michigan State senior Lulu Fulton.

It was a quiet quarter offensively for the Terps, as they put up four close shots that just missed – two by graduate student Sammy Popper, two by sophomore Hannah Boss.

The third penalty corner opportunity of the game for the Spartans came with just seconds remaining in the quarter. A straight shot by Michigan State senior Ashley Harlock powered past Maryland’s front line, but Klebasko extended a leg out to make yet another tough save as time expired, ending the half gridlocked at 1-0.

With only one penalty corner opportunity in the first 30 minutes of play, the Terps were well under their season average of nearly six penalty corners per game. Maryland finally drew their second one in the opening moments of the third quarter.

In a wild sequence of events, freshman Josie Hollamon collected a corner pass and proceeded to loft a shot near the goal. After a high deflection by a Michigan State defender, Hollamon snatched an incredible rebound. Aiming once again at the goal in a second-chance opportunity, Hollamon grounded a shot that was just saved by Spartans’ keeper Cecily Charles, giving the redshirt freshman her fourth save of the day.

Then, with just under four minutes remaining in the quarter, a missed shot by Popper led to a quick rebound by forward Hope Rose. The star junior sliced through the defense to the right side of the circle before sniping a ground shot past a diving Charles. The much needed comfort goal served as Roses’ 11th of the season, moving her to fourth overall in individual goals scored in the Big Ten conference.

The Terps didn’t skip a beat to begin the fourth quarter. In the 48th minute of play, Boss shoveled a pass to Lawn, and in one swift motion, the graduate student backed down two defenders before exploding past and striking in a backhand shot that hit nothing but net, putting the home team up three-nothing.

“Margot is [playing] like every step matters,” said Meharg after the game. “She was so service oriented, playing in the midfield for us but also recognizing that we really need to fight on defense.”

Charles would go on to continue her defensive masterclass – eventually recording double digit saves (10). However, Lawn’s second goal would prove to be too much to overcome for the visiting Michigan State team.

“[Charles] was phenomenal,” Lawn said. “It was just more about finding the pockets and seams, and getting those shots off quickly.

The Terps move to 9-3 on the season and remain perfect against the Spartans, extending their all-time series record to 16-0.

Maryland will have a chance to win their third consecutive match this Sunday, when they make the short trip to Washington, D.C. to take on the American University Eagles (5-5).