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No. 5 Penn State Field Hockey Upsets No. 2 Maryland 5-1

No. 5 Penn State field hockey (14-2, 6-1 Big Ten) took down No. 2 Maryland (14-2, 7-1 Big Ten) on Friday night by a comfortable margin of 5-1.

A powerful second quarter elevated the Nittany Lions to one of their biggest wins of the year, as they now stand just one game away from postseason play.

How It Happened

Penn State looked strong coming out of the gate, forcing a strong save from Maryland’s keeper Paige Kieft early on. However, it was Maryland who drew first blood in under five minutes when Dani Van Rootselaar lasered the ball into the center of the net off of a penalty corner.

Maryland capitalized on the first goal and created strong momentum in the following moments. Penn State’s defense was left ball-chasing in the shooting circle on more than one occasion, as it tried to clear the ball and counterattack.

The counterattacks worked after another five minutes when Sophia Gladieux drew a penalty corner from a long pass. Gladieux would start and finish the play, scoring her 19th goal of the year to tie the game.

It didn’t take long for Penn State to double its lead in the second quarter as Mackenzie Allessie dribbled around nearly all of Maryland’s defense en route to a shot while facing away from the net.

The Nittany Lions got a massive momentum boost from Allessie’s goal when just one minute later, Anna Simon doubled Penn State’s lead, rifling in a penalty corner. Brie Barraco stepped up soon after, stopping a shot from point-blank range with three attackers in front of her.

The fourth goal wasn’t far behind. Gladieux notched another score with eight minutes left in the half, tying her for most NCAA DI goals this year.

After Gladiuex’s second goal, the Terrapins substituted Kieft out of the match for a reset in defense. All the same, Penn State stayed on top for the duration of the first half, not giving Maryland any edge.

Both teams slowed the game down in the third quarter, failing to register a shot until Gladiuex nearly poked a ball between Maryland goalie Christina Calandra’s legs with four minutes remaining in the quarter.

Maryland attempted to pull off a comeback in the fourth quarter, taking four shots and forcing Barraco to make three saves. The Terrapins failed to score, and with a three-goal difference, the game quieted down.

Instead, Penn State tacked on one last goal with three minutes left in the game, as Jemma Punch netted her sixth goal of the season from point-blank range. From there, the Nittany Lions cruised to important 5-1 victory at home.

Takeaways:

  • As the rankings currently stand, the Terrapins were the toughest opponent Penn State played all year. For 15 minutes, Penn State ran circles around them. Those 15 minutes were the difference for the Nittany Lions, and they’ll see a bump in the rankings from that momentum.
  • As if Gladieux didn’t get enough recognition, Friday night was further proof as to why she’s one of the best in the nation. She was consistently problematic for Maryland’s defense, and her brace and Allessie’s goal put the two at a combined 30 goals this season.
  • Barraco had herself a night. The goalie made a number of big saves to keep Penn State firing on all cylinders en route to just one goal allowed against the team with the most goals in the nation.

What’s Next?

Penn State will finish its season against another ranked Big Ten opponent, as the team goes to Piscataway to take on No. 19 Rutgers at 3 p.m. on Friday, October 28.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a senior journalism major at Penn State and Onward State's managing editor. He writes about everything Penn State, especially its 10-2 football team. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. For dumb stuff, follow him on Twitter (iamjoelister). For serious stuff, email him ([email protected]).

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