When Anna Dessoye began playing field hockey, she recruited her sister Lizzy to practice with her in the front yard.
At that time, Lizzy — four grades below her sister — played soccer. But as Anna improved at the sport, Lizzy was also drawn to the game. She spent time around Maryland field hockey, watching Anna play for Missy Meharg’s squad from 2012 to 2015.
When it came time for Lizzy to decide where she’d play college field hockey, Maryland was the obvious choice, following in her sister’s footsteps.
“Her being here allowed me to have more insight than I could have at any other school,” Lizzy said. “I knew the schedule and the coaches’ personalities. … I just liked everything she was saying, so that was a big factor.”
Anna was a key player for the Terps. During her four-year Maryland career, she started in all but five games, tallying 38 goals and 56 assists.
While Anna immediately assumed a large role, it took her sister more time to break into Meharg’s system. Through her first two years in College Park, Lizzy only saw action in 19 games coming off the bench, registering one goal on eight shots.
But as a junior, Lizzy has played in 20 games, notching a goal and an assist in addition to 14 shots. Lizzy has started in three contests after injuries along the Terps’ forward line left them short.
“They’re all such superstars coming out of their high school, and for some, the transition is a little bit easier and quicker, and for others, it takes a little bit more time,” Meharg said. “It’s the ability to really outwork other people, both in your position and your teammates, and that’s where both girls have the ability and the drive.”
With Maryland’s recent spate of injuries, Lizzy’s hard work has proved crucial.
She played a season-high 60 minutes against Ohio State in the Big Ten semifinals, and featured for 36 minutes against Albany to open the NCAA tournament. She started in the NCAA quarterfinals last weekend, playing 40 minutes in a 2-1 victory over UConn.
“She’s doing excellent out there on the field,” forward Julie Duncan said. “Her getting the opportunity to see the field and for her to excel just shows that she really is a positive force on this team.”
And while Lizzy’s playing time has changed over the years, one thing has been constant: her sister in the stands cheering her on and helping her improve.
“It would have been nice to be able to play with my sister, but after she left it was just nice to have her come to games and watch,” Lizzy said. “I always hear her on the sidelines anyway if she’s screaming, yelling, so it’s nice to have her here and then use what she learns.”