After holding No. 2 Iowa scoreless for six quarters over two fixtures, the Hawkeyes finally found the net. Anthe Nijziel finally found a hole in Maryland field hockey’s defense, slotting past goalkeeper Noelle Frost to break the deadlock halfway through the third quarter.
It was the first of three goals for Iowa on the day, which overcame a tightly-packed Terps backline in the second half en route to a 3-0 victory Sunday afternoon.
“They definitely came out with some revenge,” defender Rayne Wright said.
In a rematch from between two of the Big Ten’s field hockey powerhouses, it had a similar feel to their first meeting early on: a taut, defensive standstill between two of the country’s best programs.
Iowa controlled possession from the opening whistle, registering four shots in the first quarter, including a penalty corner that was turned away by goalkeeper Noelle Frost. In the second quarter, Iowa pressed its attack in the Maryland zone. However, the Terps defense held strong, keeping the Hawkeyes at bay.
On the other side of the field, Iowa’s stellar defense kept Maryland frustrated, allowing just one shot on goal the entire first half. But riding its defense, Maryland managed to keep it scoreless at halftime. The Terps were hoping to recreate the same formula that earned them a win on Friday.
But Maryland couldn’t stop giving up penalty corners. And Iowa soon pounced, with Nijziel blasting a shot into the top corner to give the Hawkeyes some breathing room.
“[Iowa] shots were just high up and those are tough to get on the corners,” Wright said.
It seemed Iowa had added to its lead shortly thereafter as the ball found the cage yet again, but the referees waved it off for an illegal shot.
The Hawkeyes kept pouring it on, though, dictating the flow of the game throughout the second half. The backbreaker came in the fourth quarter, when forward Maddy Murphy split Maryland’s defense and sent her shot right past the extending leg of goalkeeper Noelle Frost to extend the lead to 2-0.
Desperate now 2-0 needing a spark coach Missy Meharg pulled Frost off for an extra attacker and Maryland finally had its first real chance of the game via penalty corner. But Iowa goalkeeper Grace McGuire turned defender Riley Donnelly’s opportunity away quickly for a clearance.
“We put ourselves in a position had we scored and have been 2-1 we would have gone back to full numbers with a goalkeeper,” Meharg said.
The Terps gave up another penalty corner soon after and with Frost still on the sideline, it was house money for Murphy. The senior forward deflected Sofie Stribos’ shot past Maryland’s defense for her second goal of the game, securing the Hawkeyes’ first victory over the Terps since 1994.
“We stayed in it, but we lacked some chemistry and some communication early which really separated our seams,” Meharg said.