No. 9 Field Hockey stifles No. 5 Iowa, picks up a crucial win

Photo by Brieanna Andrews/Maryland Terrapins

With just under two minutes to go in the opening quarter, Iowa midfielder Dionne van Aalsum received the ball at the top of the shooting circle. Leading the country in goals per game (1.79) and points per game (3.86), the star freshman stacked up as an Avengers-level threat.

“We’re going to have to stop her early and make sure she doesn’t get any good looks,” head coach Missy Meharg stressed prior to the match. “She’s scored in big games.”

After sizing up her opponent, van Aalsum brought her stick back before powering a shot towards the bottom right corner of the goal.

Then, in an incredible effort, Terps’ keeper Alyssa Klebasko anticipated the shot, proceeding to dive to her left and extend a leg out to block the shot.

Klebasko’s first save of the day concluded a near-perfect start for No. 9 Maryland, who glided past the No. 9 Hawkeyes to pick up an impressive 4-1 victory.

The Terps’ first penalty corner opportunity arrived 90 seconds into the first quarter. Margot Lawn inserted the ball to Josie Hollamon. With a burst of speed, Hollamon accelerated and flicked a short pass to Sammy Popper. Standing inside the shooting circle, the Pennsylvania native collected the pass, then sniped a shot past Iowa keeper Mia Magnotta and into the back of the net.

Popper’s fourth goal in four games came at the perfect time for Maryland, giving them a massive momentum boost that translated just minutes later in the form of yet another goal.

In the eighth minute of play, sophomore Hannah Boss stole the ball from a Hawkeyes’ midfielder. Dribbling into the open field on a breakaway opportunity, Boss spun to her left before twisting and shooting a laser shot that whizzed into the goal, just inches past the fingertips of Magnotta.

Maryland’s defense stepped up to open the second quarter. Though the Terps wouldn’t get another shot off before halftime, their presence in and around the goal on the opposite side of the field impressed. After holding the Hawkeyes scoreless through four straight blocked shots, the Terps entered the half with a comfortable two-nothing lead.

Then, in the final moments of the third quarter, Maryland extended their lead once more. After a tough save by Magnotta on a Hope Rose shot, graduate student Nathalie Fiechter snagged the rebound. In one swift motion, Fiechter sidestepped a defender, grounding a shot that squeaked into the bottom right of the net to record her first goal of the season. 

“To get that second phase [goal], whether it’s a rebound or putting immediate pressure to win the ball was a super mature play,” said associate head coach Scott Tupper. “Really exciting to see her get on the board.”

But just 37 seconds into the fourth quarter, Iowa answered. On the Hawkeyes’ fifth penalty corner of the match, van Aalsum fired a pass to junior Annika Herbine, who powered a shot past Klebasko and into the back of the net, finally putting the road team on the board.

Not more than a minute later, Hannah Boss delivered yet again for the Terps. Dribbling the ball with her back to the goal, Boss broke a double team, proceeding to methodically weave through the Iowa front line before connecting on a quick shot that cashed into the goal, hitting nothing but net and sealing the deal in College Park.

“We immediately got a big chance [after Iowa scored] and a goal,” said Boss. “So I think we kept our heads up…and did that really well.”

The Terps’ sixth straight win now moves them to 13-3 on the season and an impressive 19-6-1 all-time series record over Iowa.

“It’s perhaps our best [win] of the season,” Tupper emphasized. “Really exciting to see [this level of play] late in the year when we’re playing these top teams in the Big Ten…super proud and impressed.”

Maryland’s Senior Day and final home game of the regular season comes this Sunday in a matchup against unranked Indiana (5-10) at 12:00 p.m.

“We need to come out with the same energy as today,” Boss stressed in regards to Sunday’s match. “[This] is for our seniors, and we just have to work hard.”