Maryland field hockey goalkeeper Sarah Holliday stretched out her stick and fell to the ground as Penn State put the ball past her with about 14 minutes left in the contest to convert its third goal, and its second in a row coming off a penalty corner.
Before Sunday, the Terps had been effective at limiting penalty corners. But that — along with many of the other strengths Maryland had shown during their 13-0 start to the season — changed against the Nittany Lions.
It combined to end No. 2 Maryland’s undefeated start, as the No. 7 Nittany Lions earned a 3-1 win.
“It’s very tough, but we’re trying to stay very positive with it right now,” midfielder Kyler Greenwalt said. “It’s obviously not a good feeling to lose a game, especially when you’ve been undefeated, but it’s a great learning experience.”
Maryland had scored in the first half of each of its first 13 games, outscoring opponents 26-8 before halftime.
The Terps entered halftime trailing Penn State 1-0, stifled by the Nittany Lions defense that lowered its 1.16 goals against average by keeping the Terps to one goal.
The Terps had eight shots and five shots on goal in the first half, but Penn State goalkeeper Jenny Rizzo didn’t let any rattle the cage. Penn State, meanwhile, converted in the 25th minute off a Maryland turnover for the game’s only score before halftime.
“They obviously did a good job defensively, but I think the problem was more on our side,” defender Nike Lorenz said. “We just weren’t connected enough, we didn’t really look for each other during the passes.”
The only previous time Maryland trailed at halftime was against Princeton, when the Tigers built a 3-1 lead in the first half.
In that game, the Terps mounted a furious comeback late in the second half and won, 5-4, in double overtime.
But when the Terps found themselves down three goals again Sunday, they couldn’t find much of an answer. Lorenz added a penalty stroke goal in the final five minutes to bring Maryland within two, but there was no miracle left in Maryland on Sunday, and the team’s dream start to the season ended on the road against the Nittany Lions.
“When you play with urgency [and] intensity you get corners, you get shots at the end, and … you can find a way,” coach Missy Meharg said. “There was a bit of casualness at the beginning that if they want to be in a position to win championships then they’re going to have to [correct].”