LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Coach Missy Meharg celebrated her Maryland field hockey team preventing Wake Forest from earning a penalty corner Nov. 11 — the second time the Terps had accomplished the feat all year.
The Terps maintained that discipline in their 2-1 loss to No. 1 Connecticut in the championship game on Sunday despite numerous whistles.
The Terps boasted a 4-0 penalty corner advantage, which enabled them to keep the game within reach before forward Charlotte Veitner's game-winning goal.
"We actually had some terrific attack penalty corners [that we practiced]," Connecticut coach Nancy Stevens said, "but we didn't get any, so no one got to see those."
The Terps' ability to prevent the Huskies from earning corners helped them defend an offense that entered Sunday averaging close to five goals per game. Leading up to the contest, Connecticut earned 185 corner opportunities.
In the Huskies' semifinal win against North Carolina, they earned just two corner attempts. Maryland's defense was more effective in preventing similar opportunities.
Maryland's attack, meanwhile, capitalized on its set attempts. The Huskies defense allowed fewer than a goal per game, but the Terps remained aggressive.
Defender Bodil Keus fired off a shot in Maryland's first corner attempt in the 25th minute. However, it resulted in Connecticut goalkeeper Nina Klein's first of five saves. But in the 42nd minute, the Terps used a play off a corner to tie the game.
The ball bounced toward forward Sabrina Rhodes, who took a shot that a nearby defender appeared to block. It then rolled in freshman midfielder Kyler Greenwalt's direction. Greenwalt deposited the ball into the net, scoring the equalizer on what Stevens called a "broken corner."
"I knew that if I would send it far post that someone would dive on post or someone would be there," Greenwalt said. "Fortunately, it actually went inside the goal. It really, really obviously helped us because our energy immediately changed."
Even after Veitner scored her second goal to give Connecticut a 2-1 lead in the 62nd minute, the Terps secured additional corner chances late. In the 66th minute, Maryland's final penalty corners came within 39 seconds of each other.
Klein saved Keus' shot attempt on the first. The Terps couldn't score on their final attempt. While Maryland lost, it earned more corner chances than the Huskies to keep the game competitive.
"It is hard to win without getting attack corners," Stevens said, "but we were able to do that."