After being shut out, Maryland field hockey’s offense looks to return with a vengeance

Bodil Keus and Riley Donnelly high-five during Maryland field hockey's 5-1 win over Richmond on Aug. 30, 2019. (Gabby Baniqued/The Diamondback)

After missing a decisive penalty stroke in Maryland field hockey’s 1-0 defeat to No. 2 Duke on Sunday, defender Bodil Keus palmed her face in frustration.

So Keus spent the beginning of Tuesday’s practice working on her shooting. The reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year rifled a shot just outside the shooting circle into the top left corner of the cage.

Then she did it again. And again. And again. In fact, by the time the rest of the team had started to filter onto the pitch, Keus had left a trail of balls in and around the cage.

Keus’ shooting practice was indicative of a Maryland team that, after getting shut out by the Blue Devils, is looking to get its attack back to its best. And Wednesday’s matchup against Towson provides the No. 4 Terps with the perfect opportunity to redeem themselves and find their goal-scoring form once again.

“Knowing what [a loss] feels like is really important early in the season,” goalkeeper Noelle Frost said. “We’re going to make sure we work our butts off in practice so we never feel like that for the rest of the season, hopefully.”

[Read more: Noelle Frost has already made a name for herself as Maryland field hockey’s goalkeeper]

The Terps came into last weekend’s B1G/ACC Cup on an offensive high, scoring 10 goals in their first two games of the season. Maryland kept its rich vein of goalscoring form going against Boston College, defeating the then-No. 13 Eagles 3-1.

But the Terps were unable to get their offense clicking in their matchup against the Blue Devils, who held coach Missy Meharg’s squad to two shots in the first half. Even after Frost’s impressive goalkeeping display, Maryland was unable to break through Duke’s backline.

And with Frost’s performances giving her teammates increased faith in their ability to break forward and drive at team’s defenses, the Terps’ attackers are looking to increase their scoring output.

“We [need] to respect that trust more, and keep up our end of it,” forward Jen Bleakney said.

[Read more: Maryland field hockey drops two spots to No. 4 in latest NFHCA poll]

Despite the shutout, Maryland’s looking to build off a solid second-half performance in which it applied continual pressure on Duke’s goal — best evidenced by a 39-second period in the third quarter in which the Blue Devils were forced into four saves, including one off Keus’ penalty stroke.

“We evolved into a much better, safer [team with] more communication in the third and fourth quarter,” Meharg said. “We put ourselves in position to not only tie it, but win it.”

On Wednesday, Maryland will be looking to turn its missed opportunities into goals as the Terps face off against a Towson squad that has had a difficult start to the season, losing each of its first three games.

Historically, Maryland has been particularly ruthless against the Tigers, most recently drubbing them 8-0 in 2017.

And after spending the last couple days working on their offensive fluidity and finishing, the Terps expect to put up a more well-rounded offensive display on Wednesday.

“I think we were very ill-disciplined last game,” midfielder Madison Maguire said. “[If we] keep that consistency throughout the game and start off a lot more disciplined than we did last game, … we’ll probably score a lot more goals.”

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