Friday, the Maryland Terrapins field hockey team aimed to turn streaks into marathons: not just their 14 straight victories against the night’s opponent, Virginia, but also the 13-game winning streak they held against the ACC.
And indeed, the marathon continued.
Co-captains Megan Frazer and Jemma Buckley were responsible for four of the Terps’ six goals as No. 3 Maryland (10-1, 3-0 ACC) defended its ACC leadership with a 6-3 win. A victory over conference foe Wake Forest six days before had vaulted the Terps to the conference’s top spot.
The Cavaliers (5-7, 0-2), on the other hand, were next to last, with a middling offense and a defense ranked worst in the ACC.
But Virginia struck first, using quick ball movement to put freshman forward Rachel Sumfest all alone against Terps’ goalie Melissa Vassalotti. Juking left, Sumfest sent the ball decisively into the far corner of the cage.
Maryland, however, would answer just minutes later. Junior Megan Frazer, who has begun to live up to her co-captain role in the last five games, took the ball unassisted into the scoring circle before slamming it into the Virginia goal. Frazer has scored six goals in just five games since tallying her first of the season against Boston College in the Terps’ first taste of ACC play.
“It’s fantastic—[her and co-captain Jemma Buckley’s] leadership is evident,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “Fraz is really coming into her game right now. I think that she’s really great—a goal scorer, and you’re really seeing that now. It’s an exciting time to have that happen.”
With ten minutes to play in the first half, and in spite of the standings, it appeared the teams were perfectly matched. The scoreboard read like a mirror, as each team had three saves against four shots, with one goal scored.
But a lock like that couldn’t last forever. In the game’s 28thminute, Frazer would take the ball in from the sideline. Deftly moving the ball back and forth in front of her, she once again saw an opening. Tok, clang, cheer. The Terps were up by one.
Toward the end of the half, senior Jemma Buckley, Maryland’s other co-captain, scored on her team’s fourth penalty corner. In an ironic response, Virginia’s sophomore co-captain Elly Buckley, Jemma Buckley’s sister, would score on a Cavaliers penalty corner just two minutes later.
The elder Buckley, Jemma, couldn’t help but smile when asked what it was like to play against her sister, especially considering they were reuniting so far from home. The girls were born and raised in Perth, Australia.
“I guess it has its ups and downs,” Buckley said. “I know exactly how she plays, she knows exactly how I play. It has its perks, but it also has its downsides.” “Seeing her for the first time in a couple months is weird,” she added. “But it’s good fun.”
Jemma Buckley would add to Maryland’s slim lead on another penalty corner in the second half. But the real excitement would come in the game’s final five minutes, which were emphasized by three goals. The Terps had two of those, but once again, Virginia scored first.
“The last five minutes of a half, the last five minutes of a game … you put a game within two, it’s a game,” Meharg said. “You could score two goals in a minute, no problem. … And [Virginia] knows how to score two goals in the last couple of minutes.”
“But at that point, I do think we handled the ball pretty well,” she added. “We were really able to make a counterattack pass two lanes from goal. Once you’re back up to three goals, you’re in a different position.”
With the win, Maryland has scored five or more goals in a game for the fifth time this season. They will look to keep up their strong offense, and the marathon, when they take on No. 9 Duke next week in Durham, N.C. They will then return home for a rematch against now-No. 1 Old Dominion.