The fierce competition between No. 13 Boston College field hockey and No. 2 Maryland has been a back-and-forth relationship over the past four years. The two teams have played each other every year since 2015 as a part of the B1G/ACC Cup, splitting the four games evenly—with every game decided by one or two goals.
On Friday, both sides brought to Evanston, Ill., the characteristic intensity that is to be expected when a Big Ten powerhouse faces off against any ACC team—every program in the ACC is ranked in the top 20 nationally—but Maryland ultimately proved to be the better team as it handed the Eagles a 3-1 loss after a tightly contested first quarter.
The Terrapins (3-0) jumped on the Eagles (1-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) early in the contest, as Madison Maguire chipped a shot by sophomore keeper Jonna Kennedy with just under three minutes left in the first quarter to put the Terps up, 1-0. Not to be outdone, BC showed a little fire after it won its first penalty corner of the game with 20 seconds left in the quarter and tied it up. Freshman Autumn Littlefield started the play and junior Jaime Natale brought it home as she deflected a shot past the Maryland netminder to tie things up. This was Natale’s first goal of the year after a 2018 season that saw her finish second on the team in shots on goal.
Despite this surge by the Eagles to close out the first quarter, Maryland dominated in the second, outshooting BC and adding to its lead with a chip-in from Emma DeBerdine with four minutes to go in the half. Maryland held BC to a mere three shots in the entire first half, compared with seven on the Terps’ end. Maryland also won four penalty corners to the Eagles’ one for the half. BC had a fair amount of chances to tie the score back up before going into the half, but none came to fruition and the horn sounded with Maryland holding a 2-1 advantage.
The story of the third quarter—and the second half as a whole—was once again one of Terrapin dominance. Maryland’s Linda Cobano scored at the end of the third quarter on a play that was reviewed, but the officials determined that it was in fact a good goal, putting the game further out of reach for the Eagles. From that point on, Maryland showed why it has eight National Championships and is currently ranked No. 2 in the country, shutting down the Eagles and finishing the game with a comfortable margin.
The Terrapins proved to be the better team, controlling the game for a good majority of its duration. The Eagles came up against a tough opponent in Maryland and ultimately were unable to keep up with their pace.
A simple look at the stat line tells a lot about the matchup: Maryland led BC in shots (14-8), penalty corners won (8-4), and shots on goal percentage (71.4 percent to just 50 percent). The Eagles will need to be more productive on Sunday against No. 15 Northwestern, another key non-conference matchup and the second game of the B1G/ACC Cup, in order to gain a sense of consistency and work toward their ultimate goal of making the NCAA Tournament.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor