Field Hockey: Rapid Recap: Northwestern 2, Maryland 1


Diane Zhao/The Daily Northwestern

Sophomore midfielder Regan Cornelius controls the ball on her stick. The Ohio native has started 12 consecutive games for the Cats.

Jake Epstein, Reporter

Northwestern (20-4, 5-3 Big Ten) is headed to a second-consecutive national championship after defeating Maryland(19-4, 7-1 Big Ten) in Storrs, Connecticut.

Unlike the last time these two teams faced in the Big Ten Tournament, when the Wildcats got on the scoreboard within the first four minutes, neither team took control of the game early. In the third matchup of the two top-five foes, the teams seemed to be feeling each other out to start the game. 

In a contest between two of the nation’s high octane offenses, a defensive showdown ensued, with neither side getting the better of each other through three quarters. 

Just under three minutes into the fourth quarter, NU broke the deadlock. Fifth-year forward Bente Baekers converted a powerful hit on a penalty corner to tally her 24th goal of the year, giving the Cats a 1-0 lead. 

With just under three minutes to go, Maryland pulled goalie Christina Calandra in exchange for an extra attacker. Less than thirty seconds later, Baekers carried the ball on a fast break opportunity and played a ball in to junior midfielder Chloe Relford who slotted home the empty net goal, putting the Cats in front 2-0.

The Terrapins would not go quietly into the night, and Emma DeBerdine scored with a little over a minute left in the contest to halve the deficit at 2-1.

Maryland continued to work for a game tying goal, and pushed into the circle to make things very difficult for the NU defense.

A missed Terrapin penalty corner, issued with one second left, sent the Cats to their second NCAA title game in two years. 

Here are three takeaways from NU’s semifinal win against Maryland.

  • Another scoreless first half for the Cats

For the third consecutive game in the NCAA tournament, NU ended the first half deadlocked at 0-0. 

The Cats registered four total shots and four shots on goal in the first 30 minutes of the contest. The Terrapins tallied just one shot on goal with three total shots.

While NU engaged in yet another defensive battle to start the game, the team had its share of scoring chances early. The Cats earned three penalty corners in the first half, but Maryland quickly contested potential shooters, and a Calandra tallied two first half saves.

Both defenses played especially well early, which caused two of the nation’s most dynamic offenses to slow down their typical tempos.

  • Lauren Wadas was everywhere 

70% of the earth is covered by water, but the junior midfielder may cover the latter 30%. 

Wadas’ defensive effort was undeniable. The Pennsylvania native frustrated Maryland on the press throughout the contest. 

Wadas, who brings a physical presence to every contest, controlled much of the game’s flow, and served as a catalyst for NU’s offensive success.

She will be crucial to the team’s quest for a national championship Sunday.

  • NU will have its hands full on Sunday

The Cats will face No. 1 North Carolina (20-0, 6-0 ACC) in the National Championship on Sunday. 

The Tar Heels have waltzed through the NCAA tournament, and may be the toughest team the Cats face all season. With talent across the board, and fresh off a 3-0 thrashing of Penn State, UNC are the favorites, but anything can happen in the NCAA tournament.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jakeepste1n

Related Stories:

Field Hockey: Northwestern secures second straight ticket to Final Four after defeating Iowa in penalty strokes

Field Hockey: Rapid Recap: Northwestern 2, Miami 1

Field Hockey: No. 3 Northwestern hosts NCAA Tournament for first time in program history