Nathalie Fiechter stepped up for her penalty stroke as Maryland field hockey’s final chance. With Rutgers up by two strokes, the Terps needed a score to continue the shootout.
But Fiechter’s attempt, cut off by a penalty, fell short and ended any hope of a Maryland win. After four quarters, two overtimes and four rounds of penalty strokes, No. 6 Rutgers emerged with a 3-2 victory.
Sammy Popper started the shootout and scored on a backhanded shot for Maryland. No Terp after her converted: Hope Rose, Margot Lawn and Fiechter were all stonewalled by Rutgers’ goalie Sophia Howard while Marique Dieudonne and Iris Langejans converted for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers (10-0, 2-0 Big Ten) nearly ended the game at the end of the first overtime when Maryland, distracted by efforts to seemingly get a video referral, allowed Guillermina Causarano to surge downfield seemingly all alone. But Josie Hollamon remained aware and chased Causarano down the pitch to slow her and deny a shot on goal.
But neither team could find the game-winner in a game between Big Ten powers until the shootout.
Terps coach Missy Meharg previously said she wanted her team to have a fast start against the Scarlet Knights defense. Maryland (7-3, 0-1 Big Ten) delivered within the first three minutes..
Lawn dribbled the ball into the shooting circle, pushing herself to the left side of the net. Cornered in front of the goal, Lawn swerved past the diving goalie and finished with a backhand shot that soared into the top left corner for her fourth goal of the year.
Lawn’s score was the only one in the opening period. The Scarlet Knights trailed after the first quarter for the first time this season. The Terps defense allowed just one shot and denied its only corner attempt in the period.
Rutgers got three more corners in the second, each shut down by Maryland. But the Terps’ formation broke late into the second quarter and let the Scarlet Knights tie the game.
A pair of quick Scarlet Knight passes moved the ball in front of Maryland goalie Paige Kieft. Junior midfielder Julianne Kopec snuck the ball past the goalie and a Terp defender facing the wrong direction deflected the ball into her own goal.
Rutgers struck again early in the second half. Kieft saved a shot from outside the circle but Causarano sprinted upfield and swooped in to attack the rebound. She slid the ball past Kieft in one swift motion to give her squad the lead.
Causarano, named the Big Ten offensive player of the week on Sept. 25, spearheaded a dominant attack against the Terps. Rutgers finished the contest with 18 shots and 10 corners and spent a significant amount of time in Maryland’s defensive half.
Kieft went head-to-head with the Scarlet Knights’ during those corners, fending off backhands and wide shots. She started and stayed in net for all 80 minutes, recording four saves.
Despite that disparity in shots, Maryland found its equalizer when Maci Bradford broke down the field. Howard stepped out of the net and met Bradford halfway. The two collided and Bradford snuck the ball around Howard’s back as both players fell to the ground for the game-tying tally.
But it ultimately wouldn’t be enough as the Terps fell in their first conference test of the 2023 campaign.