In the 14th minute of Maryland field hockey’s game against Duke on Sunday, forward Bibi Donraadt received a pass close to the net from fellow forward Mayv Clune and knocked the ball into the goal despite tight pressure from two defenders.
About two minutes later, defender Bodil Keus scored on a penalty corner. Less than 16 minutes after the opening whistle, the Terps already had a 2-0 lead over the Blue Devils, matching the score Duke beat Maryland by last year in the Big Ten/ACC Cup.
With a lead established, No. 4 Maryland scored twice more in the second half, which was enough to hold off Duke’s late comeback and secure a 4-3 win.
“These women — for the first time this season — really for 70 minutes just played completely in-sync with each other,” Meharg said. “Even when we were on our heels, our intent and our momentum was positive.”
With the victory, Maryland took its second win against a top-15 opponent in three days, going undefeated in the Big Ten/ACC Cup for the first time since its creation in 2015. The Terps defeated Boston College 3-2 in a tight defensive matchup Friday.
Meharg, who’s championed Big Ten field hockey since the Terps joined the conference in 2014, said the team “did justice” for the conference.
The win moves the Terps to 5-0. The last time the Terps began the season with five victories was in 2013, where they went undefeated in the regular season before Duke eliminated them in the final four.
Goalkeeper Sarah Holliday starred for the Terps, saving 10 of the Blue Devils’ 15 shots. She had an injury scare in the second half after she and defender Nike Lorenz collided into each other, but returned promptly after an injury timeout.
“Most of the time when I step into the game, I tune completely in,” Holliday said. “My first priority is to make sure my teammates know where they are … So I have to be focusing on them and giving them instruction and then focusing on myself and my play comes naturally to me.”
Lorenz and forward Melissa Wilken scored second-half goals that proved to be crucial insurance for the Terps. Wilken — who was also celebrating her birthday Sunday — scored on a hard shot from the left side of the net in the 56th minute. Lorenz took advantage of a penalty corner pass from forward Sabrina Rhodes to score in the 63rd.
“[Duke] had spurts of momentum, but I thought we kept them at bay,” Meharg said. “I was really pleased with that.”
Lorenz’s goal was Maryland’s second penalty corner score of the game. The Terps converted half of their corner opportunities in the game, a significant improvement after not scoring any in Friday’s contest.
“We focus on penalty corners a lot … because we know that you can win if you score penalty corners,” defender Sophie Giezeman said. “[Nike] can drag flick amazing, and we have Bodil and she’s also an amazing drag flicker. So we have so many combinations we can do in the future as well … We’re very dangerous with that.”