On Tuesday, field hockey faces around the globe celebrated National Field Hockey Day.
It was the ninth installment of the annual holiday USA Field Hockey created to honor its game. But the day didn’t change plans for Maryland field hockey coach Missy Meharg — as it allowed her and her team to continue doing what it already does.
“We practiced,” Meharg said. “We were part of it. We are from the nation of the United States of America and we played field hockey.”
And the No. 7 Terps used that day as preparation for one of their biggest tests of the young season, with a date against No. 8 Penn State to open Big Ten play on Saturday.
Many Maryland players have had involvement with USA Field Hockey — along with plenty of the Nittany Lions. So, there will be a lot of familiarity when both sides take the pitch at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex at 1 p.m.
“Every single one of those players, we know so well,” Meharg said about Penn State’s team.
And it’s not nearly just U.S. involvement from which these women know each other. A handful of Terps hail from the state of Pennsylvania, and some have played with and against some of Saturday’s opponents their whole lives.
Midfielder Belle Bressler, a Leesport, Pennsylvania, native, who scored the first goal of her career last weekend, played for the X-Calibur club team with Nittany Lions star Sophia Gladieux.
“We were pretty good friends growing up and she’s been a teammate of mine for a long time,” Bressler said. “I look forward to the rivalry.
Whether Maryland focused on it or not, National Field Hockey Day served as a reminder of the game they love. It’s not uncommon for someone who plays this sport to walk into any field hockey facility and recognize a familiar face.
That said, Saturday’s top-10 match will pit plenty of Pennsylvania natives and former teammates on opposite sides.
But despite old teams and relationships, there’s something particularly special for these women to put on their college’s uniform every fall and bond with their current teammates.
Celebrating National Field Hockey Day with her fellow Terps was “an amazing feeling” for forward Margot Lawn.
“A lot of times, we take a lot of things for granted,” Lawn said. “Being able to play is just the best part of being a field hockey player. We get to play on the National Field Hockey Day.”
The Pasadena native returned to her home state from Louisville last spring, and said she always sees her teammates putting in work before and after practice, constantly striving to make themselves better.
And off the pitch, some team members are getting together for dinners, hanging out and spending time with each other.
“We like to bond as much on the field as we do off the field,” Lawn said.