As the final horn sounded at Phyllis Ocker Field, the No. 8 Maryland field hockey players lifted their arms in the air and celebrated on the right side of the pitch.
A horde of jubilant Terps from the sideline sprinted onto the field, joining their teammates.
It was a big day for the program. Backed by stellar goaltending from Noelle Frost and a pair of goals from the offense, Maryland emerged victorious in Ann Arbor, Michigan with a 2-1 upset of the No. 2 Wolverines.
It was just the second loss of the year for Michigan field hockey. The only other team to beat them was No. 1 Iowa — and the Hawkeyes needed a shootout to pull out the win.
“This is huge for us,” Taylor Mason said. “We hadn’t done as well in the Big Ten as we would’ve liked … beating this team is really good for us.”
Michigan’s (13-2, 5-2 Big Ten) potent offense started attacking early, taking four shots and drawing a corner during the first quarter.
But with Frost’s steady goaltending, none of the Wolverines’ early shots fell. And it was Maryland (12-5, 3-4 Big Ten) that drew first blood.
Just over 10 minutes into the contest, Brooke DeBerdine charged up the 23-meter line in the middle of the pitch. She fired a pass forward and found Mason.
Mason handled the ball inside the circle, stepped by her defender and fired a shot. And it crashed into the back of the net, giving the Terps a 1-0 lead.
“Great shot selection, great finishing, just couldn’t be more proud of our team,” coach Missy Meharg said.
Both top-10 powerhouses held each other down for much of the match. Frost and Michigan goalkeeper Anna Spiker continued making saves as both sides traded shots.
“Noelle really made a lot of key saves,” Mason said. “Which kept us in the game.”
But midway through the third quarter, a shot got by Frost.
Off the Wolverines’ fourth penalty corner in four minutes, Sophia Southam had her shot blocked. But Michigan was aggressive off the rebound, and Southam ended up knocking the ball into the back of the cage to tie the match at one.
The tie didn’t last long, though. Just five minutes later, Maryland had an answer.
Julianna Tornetta dribbled the ball by the perimeter of the circle and sent a pass toward the cage. Bibi Donraadt was open in front of the net and flicked a shot past Spiker.
Maryland was back on top. Playing against the second-best team in the nation in one of the most hostile field hockey environments, the Terps weren’t necessarily dominating the stat sheet. But they were making big plays when they needed them, and it would save them the game.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Wolverines drew a penalty corner. It was their eighth of the afternoon — the Terps never clocked one.
It was another opportunity for Michigan, and another test for Frost and the corner defensive unit.
And one that was again won by the Terps.
“They were just so solid on the inbounds, the initial set, and always pressured her shot,” Tornetta said about the team’s corner defense.
Michigan kept trying as the match wound down, but Frost stood tall in her cage. The Maryland goalkeeper had a phenomenal day in a huge spot, and the Terps celebrated a statement win in late season Big Ten play.