Maryland field hockey forward Madison Maguire stood a couple feet outside the goalmouth with the ball on her stick, Michigan goalkeeper Anna Spieker out of position and Maryland down a goal.
It was a position that Maguire has found herself in plenty of times. And with eight goals to her name this season, it’s a position from where coach Missy Meharg would expect the senior to rattle the cage.
But Maguire hesitated, lifting the ball above Spieker and harmlessly over the crossbar.
This moment was indicative of a team that, for all its quality, couldn’t find its attacking edge in the brisk Ann Arbor, Michigan conditions. And ultimately, it cost the Terps, who suffered their first defeat in Big Ten play and had their 10-game win streak snapped, falling 1-0 to the Wolverines on Friday.
With Michigan and Maryland ranking Nos. 1 and 2 in the NCAA, respectively, in goals conceded per game, Friday’s game set up to be a test for both squads — one in which each would struggle to craft opportunities in its opposition’s final third.
And after one quarter, that feeling held strong, with neither side recording a shot. While the quarter was filled with moments of individual brilliance, both teams were clearly hesitant to get forward.
The game opened up in the second, though, with the Wolverines earning a penalty stroke after a rash challenge from goalkeeper Noelle Frost. But midfielder/forward Meg Dowthwaite’s subsequent effort whistled wide, keeping the scoreline even.
One minute later, Maryland created its best chance of the first half, earning a penalty corner. Midfielder Nathalie Fiechter wasn’t able to direct her shot on target, and while defender Hannah Bond eventually reeled in the rebound, she failed to create anything noteworthy, with her shot/cross going wide.
As the quarter raced on, it seemed like Maryland would be the ones to break the deadlock, especially after recording four shots in the first three minutes.
But it was the Wolverines who opened the scoring late in the second frame. Midfielder/defender Guadalupe Fernandez Lacort danced around Maryland’s backline, eventually reaching the baseline before flashing a shot past Frost to break Maryland’s spirits going into halftime.
The Terps hoped to draw even in the third frame. However, Michigan — buoyed by its go-ahead goal — began to exert more influence in the attacking third, constricting the Maryland attack without creating loads of chances for itself.
Coach Missy Meharg’s squad struggled to break through the Wolverines’ midfield and front line, with the Terps only real opportunity coming from a quick counterattack.
Midfielder Brooke DeBerdine streaked down the field after a decent passage of play for the Terps, bearing down on goal before having her attempt matched by Spieker. Her rebound fell for forward Madison Maguire, who was unable to keep her shot down, keeping Maryland’s disadvantage at 1-0.
The final frame represented kitchen-sink time for the Terps, who entered the fourth quarter with a mere two shots on goal. And Maryland — with attacking threats that had up to that point flamed out in underwhelming fashion — began to string together solid possessions. There was Fiechter’s penalty corner effort. Maguire’s shot dribbled just wide. And forward Emma DeBerdine and midfielder Linda Cobano had shots that Spieker dealt with confidently.
But, just as had been the case through the first three quarters, the Terps were unable to find a spark in front of Michigan’s goal. Even with an extra attacker, Meharg’s squad couldn’t get the ball out of its own half, and when the final buzzer sounded, it was the Wolverines who joyously rushed their netminder.
Meanwhile, the Terps are left wondering what went wrong, and how to rectify their mistakes to close out their season.