The sixth-ranked Maryland field hockey team entered Sunday’s game against No. 8 Boston College in danger of matching its worst start in program history.
The Terps opened the 1976 season by going 1-3 and had never been at that mark since. This year, after winning their season-opener against Saint Joseph’s, the Terps lost games to No. 2 Syracuse and No. 4 Duke, moving them to 1-2 in 2016 and one loss away from the worst start in 40 years.
But a goal from Maryland senior forward Emma Rissinger broke a 1-1 tie in the 65thminute, giving the Terps a 2-1 lead in their eventual 3-1 win.
“Today’s outcome was vital to our team,” coach Missy Meharg said.
Senior forward Welma Luus finished the scoring with a goal four minutes later. It was Luus’ second goal of the game, the first one coming in the 17th minute.
Luus’ first score snapped a 153-minute scoreless drought for the Terps, whose shutout loss against Duke on Friday was the first time they’d been kept off the scoreboard in exactly five years.
“We knew we deserved to get the goals, we put in so much work,” Rissinger said. “To see us hit the back of the cage finally, it was relief.”
In the loss to Duke, the Terps had outshot the Blue Devils, 12-7, and won three more penalty corners but couldn’t finish any of their opportunities.
“There was a lot of disappointment,” said sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Holliday. “But there wasn’t a whole lot of negativity.”
Against Boston College, Maryland was even more dominant. They attempted 23 shots to the Ealges’ 10 and had six corners while surrendering just one.
Still, it took until the later stages of Sunday’s game for the Terps to solidify their second win.
Luus’ 17th-minute goal held up until halftime, but Boston College tied the game in the 52nd minute. The game remained deadlocked until with five minutes left before Rissinger received a pass behind the keeper and made it 2-1.
Meharg, though, said she didn’t mind the Eagles tied the game and kept it close.
“It shows that we can win under pressure,” Meharg said. “We had to find a way to get [back] ahead and that was a really great breakthrough.”
Rissinger provided that breakthrough with her third goal of the year. Sophomore midfielder Linnea Gonzales carried the ball up the baseline and crossed it to Rissinger, who was waiting at the far post. She easily finished past the goalkeeper.
“We call it framing the goal,” Rissinger said of where she was positioned on her score. “We were kind of not in the correct places against Duke, so yesterday we worked on where we need to be in the circle.”
While the Terps struggled in the final third of the field against the Blue Devils, their defense was stellar. The backline followed that up with another strong performance against Boston College.
Holliday, who made two saves against Duke but wasn’t challenged much, stopped six Boston College shots, including all four of the Eagles looks at goal in the first half.
And with the offense struggling to produce, the defense’s stinginess was more important than ever.
“It does add a little bit of stress for everyone. It’s pressure,” Holliday said. “But we’re good about not panicking or freaking out … we played really well.”
Friday, that strong play had gone for not, as the offense couldn’t get the score they needed.
But Sunday, Luus, Rissinger and the rest of the offense consolidated the backline’s performance with three goals to pick up the second win of the season.
“We played really good hockey against Duke and we played really good hockey again today,” Rissinger said. “It’s just such a better feeling walking off the field with a win.”