As Sunday’s match wrapped up, No. 8 Maryland field hockey celebrated a dominant 3-0 defeat of James Madison.
It was their second game of the week since Thursday, when the Terps came from behind to top No. 12 Virginia in overtime.
Fall athletes have returned to a normal schedule after last season’s unusual format. Maryland played an all-Big Ten schedule in the spring and often played matches against the same team with just a day off in between.
“Thursday [to] Sunday is a lot of time for the players’ bodies to recover,” coach Missy Meharg said.
Still, the fall season is a grind for Meharg and her team. The Terps are playing 18 games over a 10-week span, not including the Big Ten and NCAA championship tournaments.
While this team has plenty of experience, it also has a significant number of players who have yet to experience a full collegiate slate. And as the action-packed season could be taxing for some of these younger players, Meharg has been thrilled with how her team’s trainer, Cara Rapoport, and strength coach, Nathan Garza, have worked with the players.
“These women are so well taken care of,” Meharg said.
Freshman Hope Rose sent her team out of Virginia with a victory after a game-winning goal in overtime Thursday. In that final sequence in the 70th minute, many of the players were visibly tired and slow to make it up the pitch on the fast break that led to the score.
“I was definitely gassed by the end of that overtime,” Rose said. “But I think everyone had enough gas left in the tank to push through and get that winning goal.”
Games can take a toll on players’ bodies, especially when they last into overtime. Of Maryland’s 13 games thus far, four have needed at least an extra 10 minutes to decide the winner.
Once the Terps left Charlottesville, Virginia, and returned to College Park, the players were relieved to have two days before they’d suit up again.
“We definitely spent a lot of time on making sure our bodies were prepared to be as ready for this game as possible,” Emma DeBerdine said.
This week, Maryland will take a trip to Piscataway, New Jersey, for a date with No. 5 Rutgers on Friday afternoon. After that, the Terps will have a quick turnaround — they host No. 19 UConn on Sunday.
“Going in just knowing we have one rest day is just going hard in practice this week,” goalkeeper Noelle Frost said.
Even though they’ll have less than 48 hours between playing the Scarlet Knights and the Huskies, Maryland is already ready to face them both.
Meharg and her team start scouting and preparing for their opponents about two weeks before they play them.
“The team’s used to it,” Meharg said. “They’re becoming disciplined at the things they need to do.”