When two talented teams meet in any sport, it can quickly turn into something resembling a prize fight. One side will throw the first punch, the other will answer, and back and forth they go until someone gets the last blow. On Friday night in College Park, it was a pair of top-25 field hockey teams slugging it out, and No. 4 Maryland got the last laugh—it avenged its loss last season, fending off No. 13 Boston College, 3-2.
The Eagles (1-1), a week removed from their season-opening rout of Quinnipiac, played well, more than matching up with the Terrapins (4-0)—who are a year removed from coming within a goal of claiming the national title. The loss moved BC’s all-time record vs. Maryland to a woeful 2-13, but it doesn’t paint an accurate picture of where the two teams stand now. Over the course of the last five meetings, the Eagles have taken two from the perennial powerhouse, and the teams are separated by just six goals over that span.
This game was deadlocked for 58 minutes, including one nearly 40-minute stretch from midway through the first to halfway through the second in which neither team scored, level at one apiece. After the Terrapins broke the tie to go up with 13 minutes to play, BC needed just two minutes to equalize, quickly stealing the momentum back. It wouldn’t last, though, as with just two minutes left in the game, Maryland’s Madison Maguire tucked away a hard shot, and the Eagles simply ran out of time to answer again.
“I thought it was a great game of hockey overall,” BC head coach Kelly Doton told BCEagles.com after. “The team executed the game plan, we had some goal scoring opportunities and we just ended up on the wrong side on the score line.”
The Eagles opened the scoring, with fifth-year forward Brooke Matherson finding the back of the cage for the second game in a row. Matherson’s goal, coming in the 11th minute, was an opportunistic one—she took advantage of a rebound and beat Terrapins goaltender Noelle Frost. Eight minutes later, it was back to square one for BC, as Maguire coasted into the circle and finished the unassisted goal. Those interested in a track meet of scoring would be disappointed—it would be 39 more minutes before either team scored.
The lengthy span was characterized by opportunities for both teams, with the Eagles holding the edge throughout the rest of the first half. A more put-together Terrapins team emerged from the locker room, though, and Sabrina Rhodes eventually ended the drought. Positioned on the left side of the circle and set up by a Linnea Gonzales pass, Rhodes took a hard shot that put them up, 2-1.
It sparked jubilation on the Maryland sideline, with the players eager to claim a ranked win in their home opener, but the celebration would have to wait. BC’s lone penalty corner of the game proved fruitful, as Brigid Wood fed Frederique Haverhals for the senior’s first goal of the year.
Maguire responded, though, handing the Eagles a tough road loss. Still, the positives were aplenty for BC, a program that many have pegged as on the rise. A year removed from a winless conference schedule, seeing the team hang with—and nearly beat for the second time in two years—a top-five opponent on the road is a positive sign. The Eagles were able to defend all six of Maryland’s penalty corners successfully, manage to rally late in the second half to keep things interesting, and nearly hold on against a late onslaught of shots from the Terrapins. It doesn’t get easier from here, as they stay in College Park to take on another ranked foe in No. 12 Northwestern—a game in which a win, at the minimum, would most likely buy them a few spots in the polls.
Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Senior Staff