With a free hit outside the circle and 10 seconds on the clock, the No. 6 Michigan field hockey team had one last chance to knock off No. 15 Maryland. The score was knotted at two and it appeared double overtime wasn’t going to be enough to decide the game. Neither team could break through for the game-winning goal until junior forward Emma Way finally saw the ball roll through the goalkeeper’s legs.
Way took advantage of a scrum in front of the net, and dove for the ball to knock it in with one second remaining. Not only had she scored the game-winning goal, but she also led her team to a 3-2 victory over the Terrapins (2-2 Big Ten, 6-5 overall) — the Wolverines’ (4-0, 8-2) first win over Maryland since their 2001 NCAA Championship.
“It’s been a while since we’ve beaten Maryland,” said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz. “They’re an excellent team, they’re well coached and we have a lot of respect for them. So that’s why it’s really sweet to have a big victory over them tonight.”
The Wolverines took control of the game from the beginning. Just a minute into the game, fifth-year senior forward Carly Bennett saw the Terrapin goalkeeper come off her line. She took advantage of the commotion in the circle for the first goal of the game.
“I think it was a really important goal,” Pankratz said. “We’re coming off a big win last weekend, so scoring first really helped to continue that momentum.”
While the first goal had Bennett in the right place at the right time, Michigan’s second goal was as if it was drawn straight from a playbook. The Wolverines earned a corner and executed the play perfectly. Way sent the ball to senior midfielder Katie Trombetta, who lined up like she was taking the shot, but purposely sent it wide where freshman defender Hallie O’Neill redirected it into the net.
The two-goal lead didn’t last for long, though, as Terrapin midfielder Lein Holsboer charged the circle and scored from the left side just over five minutes later.
Maintaining the lead wasn’t easy for the Wolverines. Once Maryland saw the game-tying goal in sight, it packed on the pressure. Senior goalkeeper Sam Swenson made plenty of saves throughout the night, but with under 10 minutes left in regulation the Terrapins evened the score. There was nothing Swenson could do, as the Maryland forward took the ball out wide and reverse chipped it to hit off the post and fall in.
While the Wolverines controlled overtime by maintaining possession, the Terrapins made the most of their limited touches. Maryland took advantage of any mishap Michigan made, including when the Wolverines botched the corner and allowed the ball to roll to the halfway line for Maryland to scoop up for a breakaway with a chance to upset the Wolverines. Fortunately for Michigan, the Terrapins had to get passed Trombetta, who knocked the ball away in time for her team to recover.
While Way scored the game-winning goal, it was the defense from Trombetta that truly won the Wolverines the game.
“She was a warrior today,” Pankratz said. “She is the senior leader of our team in that defensive back field. Her one-on-one defense was stellar, it was All-American material.”