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No. 18 Rutgers looks for 1st win in 21 years against No. 4 Maryland

After a milestone win at Princeton, the Rutgers field hockey team will stay in Piscataway for another ranked matchup, this time against No. 4 Maryland. The Terrapins (8-1) have just come off of an overtime win against the No. 10 Princeton, which will drive them as well as the No. 18 Scarlet Knights (4-3) to reach for a victory.

In nearly every season, Rutgers has taken on Maryland, but it has never won against them since 1998. Last year the Knights lost 3-1, an improvement from the 2017 season, where they lost 6-0. 

Over the years, there have been improvements in the gameplay of Rutgers and how much more skilled it has become. That also goes for the Terrapins. 

It has consistently been at the top of the leaderboard with NCAA appearances for the past seven years, but it hasn't left with a win in the past few years.

More recently, Maryland has made it to the finals games two years in a row and lost in the championship game both times. There is definitely a sense of belonging for the Terrapins in the finals games, but where do the Knights come into play?

“We are really playing some great hockey right now,” said head coach Meredith Civico. “Our team is coming together, and we’re involving, which is really exciting. We’re adding layers onto our game day-to-day, game-by-game, which is where you want to be heading into Big Ten play.”

When comparing both teams’ wins against the Tigers (3-4), there are some stats that could impact the outcome of this coming game. When Rutgers took on Princeton, the Knights had a total of four shots, while three of them were on goal. 

When Maryland took on the Tigers, it ended the game with 15 shots. This is a staggering difference, but Rutgers tends to lay low in total shots, but ends up with more shots on goal by the end of the game proportionally.

But this time around might be different because in the Terrapins-Princeton game, Maryland had 13 of those 15 shots on goal. 

Even Civico has had some experience with the Terrapins. As a former player, Civico won the ACC and NCAA championships with Maryland during her senior year. She had grown as a collegiate player under current Terrapins head coach Missy Meharg. 

“I think my experience at Maryland as a player was incredible,” Civico said. “I know it’s gonna be a competitive game. I think (Missy) really expects it’s gonna be a competitive game. When Terps meet, there’s always a competitive energy, so I think it will be a good game.”

While the Knights tied the record for the highest-ranked win in the field hockey program's history, they accomplished more than just that. 

This was the first win against the Tigers in Princeton since 1977, and it was the first goal of the season for freshman forward Rachel Houston and junior midfielder Gracey Butsack. Even a few days after the win, junior goalkeeper Gianna Glatz got some recognition for her gameplay. She received the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award for the fourth time in her collegiate career.

“At this point, we focused on Princeton last week,” Glatz said. “And now, we’re just focusing on Maryland. A win is a win and we did what we had to do to get the job done last weekend, and now it’s just putting the new puzzle together and getting ready for this weekend.”

Glatz has an impressive record and a remarkably high amount of saves. If she and the Rutgers defense can hold on tight during this upcoming game, then the finish will be closer than expected.

With both teams coming off of a big win against Princeton, time will tell which team is ready to keep their streak going. 

The Knights have the home-field advantage against the Terrapins, which will help the team feel comfortable heading into this game on Friday at 1 p.m.

For updates on the Rutgers field hockey team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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