What seemed like the largest and loudest crowd Maryland field hockey has had since before the pandemic was into the match all afternoon. It was constantly on its feet and roaring, providing an incredible home-field advantage.
The players were as intense as ever as the No. 7 Terps battled No. 8 Penn State into overtime. But about three minutes in, Sophia Gladieux fired her second goal of the match into the bottom right corner to lift the Nittany Lions over Maryland, 3-2.
“The outcome of this is very disappointing for our group,” Maryland coach Missy Meharg said. “When things fell for us, we lost our connectivity.”
After over five minutes in the opening quarter, Margot Lawn took the first shot of the match, which was handled by Penn State goalkeeper Brie Barraco. Still, seeing a shot on goal early elicited a roar from the large Maryland crowd.
Moments later, the onlookers cheered again. The Terps drew the first penalty corner of the match, and Bibi Donraadt headed to the end line to insert it. She sent it to Maura Verleg, who set Julianna Tornetta up for a shot.
And the senior buried it. The Maryland players celebrated. The Terps had an early 1-0 lead.
“It’s a newer skill I’m developing,” Tornetta said. “It gave us a little kickstart in the beginning.”
But it didn’t last long. This game between two top 10 squads was expected to be close. And late in the first, Penn State got the equalizer.
After the Nittany Lions drew a penalty corner and started knocking on the door, Mackenzie Allessie fired a shot and scored — tying the match at one.
Midway through the second quarter, Maryland drew a penalty corner, and Barraco stuck out her leg to stop Hope Rose’s shot from scoring. The Nittany Lions worked quickly, perfectly placing a cross-field pass that appeared to sneak by the Terps defense.
But it didn’t. Belle Bressler stepped in and turned it away as Maryland’s defense continued to come up with stops.
Eventually, Penn State drew back-to-back corners and took promising shots off both. But Noelle Frost wasn’t letting anything by her and came up with clutch saves on each.
The Terps moved quickly in transition and appeared to draw a corner of their own, but after Penn State used its referral, the officials overturned the call and the Nittany Lions got the ball back.
And with under two minutes left in the first half, Penn State took the lead.
Gladieux rocketed a deep shot into the corner of the top shelf. The impressive goal gave the Nittany Lions a 2-1 advantage — and the first deficit Maryland faced since its 3-2 loss to Boston College on Sept. 3.
While Penn State headed to the intermission in front on the scoreboard, the Terps had the upper hand in pretty much every other category. Maryland was outshooting the Nittany Lions and had drawn more corners.
“Stay present, follow the game plan and keep working hard,” Meharg said she told the team at the break.
But in the second half, Penn State quickly matched the Terps’ five penalty corners and kept taking shots against Frost.
Maryland wasn’t backing down either. Not even 30 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Terps drew a penalty corner. And scored.
Riley Donnelly took the shot, which sailed toward the left side of the cage. Nathalie Fiechter was there to send it into the cage for her first goal as a Terp.
“It was a great moment,” Fiechter said. “We practice a lot of penalty corners and it’s great when everything comes together.”
Over the last few minutes of regulation, the two teams started to appear as they’re advertised. Both teams kept working the ball up and down the pitch, fighting to try and win. But neither could finish the job in 60 minutes, and Maryland headed to overtime for the second time this season.
Penn State had a one-woman advantage for two minutes, as Verleg was assessed a green card. It drew a penalty corner, and the insertion sailed far from any Nittany Lion — allowing the Terps a shorthanded try up field.
Nothing came of it, and Verleg returned to the match. And Penn State won it on Gladieux’s second goal.
The Nittany Lions celebrated, with the team locking arms, jumping together, chanting, “We are Penn State” on Maryland’s home pitch.