Not even the first cold day of the season and an undefeated opponent could cool down the No. 3 Maryland field hockey team, which entered Sunday off to its best start since 2013 and stayed perfect with a 3-1 win over No. 17 Harvard.
The Crimson took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half, but the Terps responded shortly after and added two second-half goals to win their seventh game to start the year.
Coach Missy Meharg was pleased with the team’s performance, which included outshooting the Crimson 15-7.
Harvard came out of the gates strong, however, spending the first few minutes around the net and eventually scoring in the 18th minute.
Maryland found its footing 10 minutes later, nearly connecting on a penalty corner. Harvard goalkeeper Ellie Shahbo made a sprawling save to keep the Terps off the board, but she couldn’t do the same in the 30th, when midfielder Linnea Gonzales tied the game off Maryland’s sixth corner.
“It was just beautiful,” Meharg said. “The amount of running she had just done … was just amazing.”
With the rain falling harder and footing becoming even more of an issue, the second half began and Maryland continued to put shots on Shahbo, who made 10 saves on the afternoon. After consecutive chances off of corners, forward Sabrina Rhodes scored on a penalty shot in the 43rd minute to give the Terps their first lead.
“I’m so impressed with her variety of skills,” Meharg said of Rhodes, who is her “go-to” on penalty corners. “She’s a great defender and a great eliminator.
Even with star defender Nike Lorenz still unavailable while she’s in Germany dealing with a family matter, Harvard’s attack couldn’t get anything going, and their frustration became visible.
Maryland midfielder Madison Maguire iced the game for the Terps in the final 10 minutes by scoring a wide open goal on a beautiful cross from midfielder Brooke DeBerdine.
“She did all the work,” Maguire said. “I just kind of finished it.”
Meharg commended the work of her defense, led by Bodil Keus, after allowing five shots in the team’s final game before Big Ten play.
“Our second layer defense is outstanding”, she said. “Bodil is extraordinary. She’ll make the decision to tackle you so hard you don’t even know what’s coming.”