When Maryland field hockey faces off against Rutgers on Friday, freshman Bibi Donraadt will be on the other side of a familiar face from back home.
Donraadt will face fellow Dutchwoman Daphne Groothuis, who attended Thorbecke VO and played for club team Leonidas with Donraadt before joining the Scarlet Knights.
“It’s probably going to be really weird,” Donraadt said. “Daphne is a really good friend of mine, and she was a very good friend of mine in Holland as well. … I’m looking forward to [seeing] her after a few months and [playing] against each other.”
Now, the two former teammates are making significant impacts on their respective college teams.
Donraadt has played in every game for No. 2 Maryland this season. She’s tied for third on the team with six goals and has also notched two assists. On Monday, she was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
“My club team, it was all about having fun, passion and training hard, just like what Maryland stands for,” Donraadt said. “And I think that’s also the key in the U.S. — just work hard and have fun at the same time. They prepared us really well.”
Groothuis, a sophomore, leads the Scarlet Knights in scoring and assists with six goals and nine assists on the season already. She was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 4, as well as one of the team’s Big Ten Preseason Player to Watch.
With Groothuis on its squad over the past two years, Rutgers (8-3, 1-3 Big Ten) has risen to heights the program has never before reached. The Scarlet Knights enter this weekend at No. 15, the highest ranking in school history.
On Sept. 2, with Rutgers unranked, it upset No. 18 Saint Joseph’s 3-2. A week later, the Scarlet Knights faced No. 5 Princeton — the team that caused Maryland the most trouble — and won 1-0.
For head coach Missy Meharg, who’s worked to improve Big Ten field hockey since joining the conference in 2014, Rutgers’ emergence is promising. As one of the nation’s best programs, Meharg has been trying to build up the conference to Maryland’s level.
One way to do that is to improve the international recruits, which could make for more reunions like Friday’s.
“It’ll be great for Bibi to be out there,” Meharg said. “They’re super familiar with each other, they’re very good friends and I think it will be a great matchup.”