Trailing by one goal with less than eight minutes to play, Iowa forward Natalie Cofone weaved through Maryland field hockey defenders in search of a hat trick.

Goalkeeper Sarah Holliday stopped her shot, but the rebound went onto the stick of another Hawkeye who was waiting at point-blank range in front of the net.

She pushed her shot wide, and the Hawkeyes buried their heads in their hands as they turned around to get back in position.

A few minutes later, midfielder Linnea Gonzales clinched the Terps’ sixth consecutive win with a goal that made it a 4-2 game.

“We struggled getting into a groove. Iowa was really good with their pressure on the ball,” coach Missy Meharg said. “But when we figured it out we dominated and controlled the game.”

Cofone’s two goals kept her team in the back-and-forth battle until the very end. The Hawkeyes entered halftime tied and were outplaying the Terps for parts of both halves.

“There was a little bit of ping-pong, which was our fault,” Meharg said. “We had good spurts of solid team attack, but not as good as you’ve seen it.”

Both goals in the first period were sparked by free hits from the same spot of the field, just outside the Terps’ (7-2, 2-0) attacking circle.

In the 11th minute, a pass ricocheted high off of forward Emma Rissinger’s stick and into the body of a Hawkeye defender, and play was stopped for the raised ball.

Iowa took the free hit instantly with a long pass to Cofone, who was waiting at midfield. The Terps’ defense hurried to try to get back in front of her, but they couldn’t stop her from taking a shot that got past goalkeeper Sarah Holliday and gave Iowa a 1-0 lead.

“She’s really good at getting backdoor,” Meharg said. “She got behind, and that’s a testament to them.”

In the 23rd minute, another infraction stopped play right at the top of the circle. The Hawkeyes (6-3, 0-2) were called for kicking the ball, and forward Welma Luus elected to make a backpass with her free hit.

Defender Grace Balsdon was waiting for it at the 23-meter line, and she promptly sent the ball toward goal with pace. Forward Sophie Pelzer was stationed in front of goal, and she managed to get her stick on the ball to deflect it in.

That wouldn’t be the last time Balsdon gave the Hawkeyes trouble from distance. Less than a minute into the second half, the Canterbury, England native broke the 1-1 tie with a drag flick goal off of a penalty corner.

Cofone tied it back up in the 49th minute with a deflection goal of her own.

“She’s phenomenal,” Meharg said. “It’s her last season of collegiate field hockey and she’s going to let everybody know that she’s on that field.”

But the last two scores of the day would come from Gonzales.

The sophomore used intricate stickwork to roll the ball between the legs of a Hawkeye defender to the left of goal before striking the ball hard across the face of the net. It bounced off an Iowa player and into the net for what would be the eventual game-winner.

With Iowa sending numbers forward in an effort to equalize four minutes later, Gonzales scored another. Gonzales found space to receive a pass, make one move and fire a backhanded shot to the backboard.

After battling the Hawkeyes for nearly the whole game, Gonzales’ two late strikes raised the Terps to a two-goal win.

“When the pressure was on and she was needed, Linnea was able to find the back of the net,” Meharg said. “It was her time to finish and to shine … that’s just Linnea.”