The No. 2 Michigan field hockey team (13-2 Overall, 5-2 Big Ten) took a tough 2-1 loss in a rainy affair against No. 8 Maryland (12-5, 3-4) on Sunday afternoon. It was a disappointing end to the Wolverines’ Senior Day and last home game of the season at Phyllis Ocker Field.
In what was largely a defensive battle fought in the midfield, the Terrapins were out on the front foot, with Maryland forward Hope Rose scoring in the middle of the first quarter on a far-side shot to the bottom left corner. At the beginning of the second quarter, the Terrapins had a prime opportunity to score a second goal but were denied by a masterful sprawling save from Michigan senior goalkeeper Anna Spieker. Strong play in net was a constant throughout the game from Spieker and Maryland keeper Noelle Frost, finishing with four and six saves, respectively.
Michigan tied the score at one halfway through the third quarter on a phenomenal diving attempt from senior midfielder Sofia Southam that trickled by the Terrapins’ netminder. Southam sits as the second-leading scorer in the country, which is all the more impressive coming from the midfield position, which requires both offensive and defensive responsibilities. The goal came off of a centering assist from midfielder Nina Apoola on a player advantage opportunity following a penalty.
Five minutes later, the Terrapins took the lead once again on a backhanded deflection in front of the cage by midfielder Bibi Donraadt. This lead would hold to the end of the game.
In the fourth quarter, the Wolverines put on an unrelenting attack, mounting numerous offensive possessions. However, all shots taken were either turned away or missed wide. With four minutes remaining in regulation, Michigan pulled Spieker to gain an extra player on offense, a tactic that ultimately proved unsuccessful.
Time ran out during one last Wolverine offensive push and an appeal from their players for a penalty. After a quick review, the officials confirmed the no-call on the field, making the 2-1 score final.
A bright spot on Michigan’s defensive end was Rosie Hope, who had several eye-catching takeaways and clearing passes.
“Today we did a great job of stepping in front and winning the 50-50s,” Hope said. “I think we had a few too many turnovers, which we can work on. … But overall we stepped up, did what we could. … (We’ve) just got to finish the job.”
Notably, the Wolverines were in possession for the majority of the match, notching thirteen shots to Maryland’s nine, as well as taking eight corners while holding the Terrapins to none. Michigan put itself in the right position to succeed, even though it struggled to convert its chances into goals. Conversely, Maryland made the most of their somewhat limited offensive turns; a third of their shots on goal found the back of the net.
“Today (was) a great matchup (between) two really strong teams and (Maryland), executed two shots (and) two goals,” Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said. “If we have eight corners (and) we don’t score at all, that’s obviously going to be the difference in the game.”
Certainly, executing on corners will be a focal point for Michigan this coming week in practice as the regular season comes to a close. The Wolverines will need to capitalize on valuable lessons learned from this hard-fought loss as they continue into the postseason. The Big Ten Tournament looms ahead for Michigan, where they will face stiff competition against five other top-10 teams.