Missy Meharg knew the Big Ten/ACC Cup would be her squad’s toughest matchups yet. After victories over unranked Drexel and Stanford to open the season, No. 14 Boston College represented the Terps’ first true test of 2022.
Meharg was eager to see how Maryland’s defense would fare against the strongest group of attackers they’ve faced. The Eagles sported the 13th-ranked offense in goals per game entering Friday’s battle. She wanted to see how the offense would respond after a one-goal effort against the Cardinal, too.
After scoring just once on 23 shots a game ago, Maryland found the net three times, needing only 16 shot attempts to do so. The Terps’ defense did what it’s done all season, preventing the opposing offense from breaching the shooting circle and impacting shots when they did. The Eagles took just 10 shots, only three being on goal.
Led by an efficient offense and a third-straight stout defensive showing, Maryland defeated Boston College, 3-1, to move to 3-0 on the season.
“It’s nice to win games, but the biggest message is the quality of hockey,” Meharg said. “Many times, it’s not about who you play, it’s how you play. It’s certainly nice to beat an ACC team that is ranked, especially at their house.”
Just one of Maryland’s eight goals this season entering Friday came in the first quarter. Seeking to buck that trend, Hope Rose scored the game’s first goal just three minutes in.
But Boston College answered almost immediately. Peyton Hale responded with a goal to even the score at one apiece.
Leah Crouse, a grad transfer from Maryland’s Sunday opponent Duke, notched the first goal of her Terps career in the second quarter. She tapped in a pass from in front of the goal to recapture the lead.
“We were able to control chaos very quickly,” Meharg said.
As Maryland entered the halftime break with a 2-1 advantage, it also led in other offensive marks. The Terps had twice as many shots on goal than the Eagles and four penalty corners to their one.
“We were able to get in through their defense a lot,” Meharg said. “When we take a look at the film, we’re going to be able to really maximize on some of those opportunities.”
Maryland’s dominance continued into the second half, adding seven more shots, four of them on goal.
Despite attempting six additional shots, only one of those Boston College attempts was on line. Maryland has now limited opponents to five shots on goal on the season, an aspect goalie Christina Calandra said was a goal for the defense entering the season.
“Pressure on the ball is really important for us,” Riley Donnelly said.
Looking for insurance, Bibi Donraadt grew the Maryland lead midway through the fourth. On a breakaway with just one defender in her way, the fifth-year senior fired and found the net, giving the Terps a 3-1 lead with her first goal of the season.
“I always think it’s important, your first goal of the season,” Meharg said. “To get moving and to get a variety of people scoring is positive.”
After taking down the Eagles for the first time in the Cup since 2019, Maryland now has the chance to sweep the two-game set when it battles Duke on Sunday. It would be the second time that’s happened, the first coming in 2018.
“It’s exciting to be good,” Meharg said. “And when you know you’re good, you can kind of start to have this contagious feeling and just build the game and build the game, love the way each other are playing and sprint as fast as you can on and off the field … everybody has a good time.”