At the beginning of the first two quarters in No. 8 Maryland field hockey’s contest against Michigan State, the Terps quickly found the back of the cage. And the same happened in the third.

As Maryland was putting together a dominant performance that featured 26 shots against the pink-jerseyed Spartans’ one, Taylor Mason received a pass around the middle of the shooting circle, some 30 feet from the net.

And the next thing anyone knew, the ball banged off the back of the cage — Mason’s score giving Maryland yet another tally early in a quarter.

It was a dominant victory for the Terps, who finished the first half of their Michigan trip with a 4-0 win over the Spartans on Friday afternoon.

“We were able to transition super well from the press into the attack,” Mason said. “Also, I think what works really well for us — and we practice this a lot in practice — is just quick restarts and one-timing around the goal.”

Maryland (11-5, 2-4 Big Ten) came out firing on both sides of the pitch. It took just 80 seconds for the Terps to get on the board,  and the Spartans never registered a shot on goal.

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From inside the circle, Margot Lawn slapped a backhanded shot past Michigan State (7-6, 0-6 Big Ten) goalkeeper Monique Jardell.

And that set the tone for the rest of the first quarter — Maryland took nine shots against the Spartans’ one.

“When you play defense really well in what we call the red zone,” coach Missy Meharg said. “You can play defense everywhere.

Early in the second quarter, the Terps added to their score again.

Less than two minutes into the period, Riley Donnelly sent Emma DeBerdine’s penalty corner insertion to Nathalie Fiechter. And the junior buried the goal to give Maryland a 2-0 lead.

The Terps’ successful attack at the beginning of quarters continued. Under four minutes into the third quarter, Mason added her score to the Terps’ total.

But they weren’t done.

Less than two minutes after Mason’s goal, Maryland drew its 10th penalty corner of the afternoon. And the Terps made the play look easy.

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Emma DeBerdine passed the ball to Fiechter, who set Donnelly up for the shot. The senior drag flicked it toward the net, and Verleg deflected it past Jardell.

As the game wound down, Maryland continued to keep the ball on Michigan State’s side of the pitch. With just under three minutes left, the Spartans rocketed a few long passes downfield to potentially get something cooking against goalkeeper Christina Calandra, who entered for Noelle Frost.

But each time, the Terps commanding defense turned the ball away quickly.

“Our one-on-one defense has gotten so much cleaner and just more precise,” Frost said. “We understand how to just not allow frivolous defensive penalty corners … we’re stepping up our game and individual defense.”

It was one of Maryland’s most dominant victories of the season. The defense not only prevented Michigan State from scoring, but it held them to just one shot, which wasn’t even on goal. Frost didn’t have to make a single save. 

And after a brief review upheld the conclusion of the match for a few moments, the Terps celebrated a huge victory on the road, registering their sixth shutout and their second conference win of the season.