As time expired in No. 8 Maryland field hockey’s game against No. 17 UConn, coach Missy Meharg stood on the sideline, watching intensely.
Within two minutes, the Terps’ match against the Huskies went from a dominant shutout to a one-goal affair, and all momentum was swinging the other way.
But Maryland staved off UConn’s late push, and the Terps escaped with a 3-2 win — the 600th of Meharg’s 34-year career.
“It means I’ve been here a long time,” Meharg said. “The university, the region, the school have been able to have the very best players to choose the University of Maryland, so I’ve been really fortunate to coach great athletes who love to win.”
When Maryland (10-5, 1-4 Big Ten) was down a player because of a Hope Rose green card, the Terps started attacking and drew a corner.
Off a rebound, Taylor Mason fed the ball toward the middle of the circle. Emma DeBerdine was there and pushed it into the back of the cage, giving Maryland an early 1-0 lead.
After that sequence, the action slowed. Maryland’s defense was all over UConn (8-7, 4-1 Big East), and the Huskies couldn’t get off a single shot for the entire half.
But UConn’s defense clamped down as well, and the Terps only took two more shots over the next 22 minutes.
“We were playing ping pong in the second quarter,” Meharg said.
Maryland drew a penalty corner two minutes into the third quarter. Emma DeBerdine handled the insertion and sent it over to Hope Rose.
After the freshman’s initial shot was blocked, Belle Bressler rocketed one from the right side of the circle, and it whizzed by the UConn goalie to give Maryland a 2-0 advantage.
It took 41 minutes for the Huskies to take a shot. And once they did, they also drew a penalty corner. But goalkeeper Noelle Frost and the Terps’ defense handled UConn’s long-awaited first try.
“We did a great job reading how they play defense,” central defender Maura Verleg said. “We had really good communication.”
A minute into the fourth quarter, Maryland’s offense struck the back of the cage yet again.
Hope Rose flashed a pass to Emma DeBerdine, who was standing in the middle of the circle, and the junior buried her second goal of the afternoon.
“UConn’s a championship team. They’re not taken lightly,” Emma DeBerdine said. “Getting three goals on them that early was pretty impressive for us.”
Halfway through the fourth, UConn took its third shot of the day, and it was unsuccessful as the shot sailed wide.
But with just under five minutes to play, the Huskies prevented the shutout. Off a penalty corner, Kourtney Kennedy nailed a shot past Frost, making it a 3-1 ballgame.
After Emma DeBerdine was issued a green card, the Huskies drove down the pitch again. UConn’s McKenna Sergi got open and rifled home a goal.
With DeBerdine out and UConn pulling its goalkeeper, the Huskies suddenly had two goals in two minutes and a two-player advantage. But it didn’t matter, and Missy Meharg celebrated her 600th career win.