Sophomore forward Hope Rose was mysteriously absent from Maryland field hockey’s starting lineup in its Sept. 30 matchup versus Iowa. She missed the next game against Northwestern two days later, still with no official word on her status.
The loss of their leading goal scorer ultimately did not impact the Terps, who took down two then-top three teams on the road without her.
Rose was labeled day-to-day with a lower body injury following the weekend, a team spokesperson said. She went on to miss five games and nearly a month of time before returning to face Penn State Oct. 21.
“Foot-wise, I’m 100 percent,” Rose said. “Just need to get … back in the flow of actually playing.”
Despite playing on a minutes restriction and not logging any goals or assists against the Nittany Lions, Rose’s return to the field marked the completion of a month-long rehab process that kept the reigning Big Ten freshman of the year out of Maryland’s toughest stretch of its regular season.
It’s unclear exactly when or how Rose injured her left foot, but she began the process of getting back to full health shortly after exiting the Terps’ lineup.
Her rehabilitation started with swimming, which Rose said helped maintain her fitness level while not putting any weight on her foot.
She progressed to an underwater treadmill and then an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill once her foot could handle some weight. The machines are designed to allow users to slowly increase the weight they can put on their lower body as the water and air pressure shoulder some of the load.
Rose was held out of practices and most training exercises while working back. Being kept away from the team was hard for a player like Rose, who coach Missy Meharg said was constantly looking for work.
“Always in your face, looking to do everything,” the coach said.
But Rose’s impact on the team, even from the sidelines, persisted.
She was often one of the Terps’ loudest and most enthusiastic supporters from the bench during games and constantly offered encouragement at practice.
“Even though I’m still on the sideline, I’m still a big part of the team,” Rose said.
The sophomore eventually began running again in the week leading up to the match with Penn State. She got a couple of practices in prior to the game and was declared a game-time decision for the contest, giving Meharg and the training staff an opportunity to get a final gauge of her abilities minutes before the game.
Rose was out of the starting lineup but logged time on the field as a reserve in the 5-1 defeat.
Her progress continued in Maryland’s win over Virginia Wednesday. She turned her only shot in the game into her 11th goal of the season, tying the team lead. Rose’s 48 minutes played are her sixth highest total of the season and most since Sept. 23.
She followed it up with 58 minutes played in Sunday’s win over UConn in the regular season finale. She contributed to both of Maryland’s scores with one goal and an assist on the double-overtime game winner.
“The doctors and our trainer Cara [Rapoport] are very pleased with where she is,” Meharg said.
The Terps got one of their top players back at the perfect time. With their regular season now completed, Rose had ample time to ramp back up to full strength and speed.
Maryland held its own while Rose was sidelined, going a perfect 5-0 without her. Rose’s goal scoring and shot making skills will be relied on come the postseason, however, as the Terps chase their first Big Ten tournament title since 2018.