For five minutes of No. 7 Maryland field hockey’s match against No. 1 Iowa on Sunday afternoon, a stalemate turned into a barn burner.
Almost three quarters passed with no goals and few shots. Then suddenly, the Hawkeyes scored. Riley Donnelly had an answer for the Terps. And Iowa quickly responded.
That was all the Hawkeyes needed to remain unbeaten, leaving College Park victorious, 2-1.
“A really disappointing outcome,” coach Missy Meharg said. “A lot more lessons. We will continue to take the lessons and continue to build on them and hopefully get better and better every day.”
Despite two of the country’s best offenses taking the pitch, it was their defenses that shined for much of the first quarter. Maryland (7-4, 1-3 Big Ten) came out firing, and Kyler Greenwalt took the first shot of the match about four minutes in.
It was saved, and that was the only time either side got a shot off in the first period.
After nearly 23 minutes, the first penalty corner was drawn. And it was Iowa (12-0, 4-0) that did so.
Anthe Nijziel’s shot missed, and after a series of rebounds, the Hawkeyes earned another. And the Terps’ defense held strong once again.
While Maryland did continue slowing Iowa’s attack for much of the second frame, the Hawkeyes kept pushing across the midfield. With just under four minutes left, they drew four straight penalty corners. But nothing got past Terps goalkeeper Noelle Frost.
“We came out and we kind of just went for it in the first half,” Brooke DeBerdine said. “We really secured the ball well, and were moving well around a great team.”
The stalemate continued into the second half. Seemingly more so than any of Maryland’s other games this season, the ball wasn’t leaving the midfield. Meharg and her players have said throughout the season that field hockey is a game that could come down to the details, and these two top-10 powerhouses executed on everything.
The large Terps crowd erupted with just under four to play in the third quarter, as Maryland finally drew its first corner.
As both sidelines cheered their teams on, Bibi Donraadt headed to the endline for the insertion. Hope Rose got the shot — but it didn’t fall. And Iowa’s defense took care of business, quickly sending the ball in the other direction.
With just 11 seconds to play in the third quarter, the stalemate ended. The Hawkeyes broke it.
Maddy Murphy sent a long pass from deep toward the cage. The ball was loose, bouncing in front of Frost. Leah Zellner raised her stick in the air, chopping the ball onto the ground and into the back of the net.
The black-jerseyed visitors smiled and hugged as they’d finally broken the ice. And they headed to the fourth quarter with a fresh 1-0 upperhand.
Within minutes, Iowa drew another couple of corners, which Frost and the Terps’ penalty corner defense handled. Maryland drove downfield, and after a series of passes, drew a corner of its own.
This time, Emma DeBerdine fired in the insertion. Maura Verleg set it for Donnelly. And she buried it.
Donnelly used her signature drag flick shot to rifle one past Hawkeyes goalkeeper Grace McGuire. Within minutes, the Terps knotted the match at 1-1.
“The moment is definitely so exciting, but then after that you take 15 seconds and then it’s back into the game,” Donnelly said.
But Iowa answered again. Off a deflection from the outside of the circle, Murphy got one past Frost. After nearly 45 scoreless minutes, three goals were on the board in less than five minutes.
Video review upheld a Maryland corner with just under seven left. The shot was unsuccessful, but sent McGuire to the ground. After being down for a moment, the Hawkeyes’ goaltender gave a thumbs up to her team and stayed in the game.
Soon enough, time ran out, and the Terps suffered yet another defeat to a top-10 opponent.
“It was a really tough match,” Meharg said. “A little bit of déjà vu here.”