Rutgers downed by No. 3 Maryland in regular season finale
The Rutgers field hockey team closed out its regular season with a 4-2 loss against No. 3 Maryland in College Park this weekend.
The Scarlet Knights (9-8, 2-6) will pick right back up where they left off in the postseason as the team returns to the same venue on Thursday for a rematch against the Terrapins (15-3, 7-1) in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Rutgers put forth a strong performance in the opening frame, with a goal from senior forward Rachel Yaney putting the Knights up 1-0. The Terrapins responded five minutes later with a goal from Carrie Hanks, knotting the game at 1-1 going into halftime.
A trick play by Maryland to start off the second half caught the Knights off guard and stifled their momentum.
There was no looking back for the Terps after that.
“I think what made the difference in the second half was that they came out pretty strong and aerieled the ball into our defensive end and scored,” said senior captain Devon Freshnock. “Then after that I think we lost focus a little bit, but I think going into next week we can really concentrate on just staying disciplined throughout the whole thing and playing 70 minutes of hockey.”
The Terps continued to push offensively and tallied two more insurance goals to push their lead to 4-1. Despite this, Rutgers still showed signs of life in the final moments of the game. A late goal from freshman Nikki Santore off a pass from senior Sarah Regn cut the deficit to two goals, but Maryland’s offensive fire had already secured it the win.
Santore’s goal put her at a team-leading nine on her debut season and Yaney now stands in seventh place all-time in the Knights' record books with 22 career goals.
The Terps held a 9-0 advantage in penalty corners and outshot Rutgers 22-5, with senior Shevaun Hayes and freshman Amanda Lamb splitting time in goal between halves.
While the Knights' head coach Meredith Civico is disappointed her team failed to generate any attack penalty corners, she’s looking at it as a strategic advantage for next week.
“Our team worked a lot on attack penalty corners this week and I mean, we were executing really well in training so it was disappointing not to draw any corners today,” Civico said. “There were some things that we didn’t show today tactically that we’re keeping in our back pocket for Thursday that I’m excited about. I think we’re taking a lot from this game. Preparation for Thursday starts now.”
Rutgers made a statement by holding its own against a top-five team in the country, but the Knights fell short in putting together two full halves of hockey.
The team has the unique opportunity to have a rematch with the best team in the Big Ten in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals next week — when it really counts.
“(Civico) really instills in us that we are able to beat anybody that we want to and play with anybody that we want to,” said senior defender Sophia Walia. “Every single one of us, we trained hard this week going into this game and we trained with the mentality that we can beat anybody. I think that is what allowed us to play at their level and play with them and even better than them at points … So I think it’s really exciting that we get to play against them again.”
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