Maryland Edged By Duke, 3-2, in Final Four

Maryland Athletics
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NORFOLK, Va. –  The Maryland field hockey team fell behind early and couldn’t convert shots in the second half as it fell to No. 5 Duke, 3-2, in the NCAA Semifinals Friday at Old Dominion.

The Terrapins (22-2) trailed 3-2 at the break and despite outshooting the Blue Devils, 11-2 in the second half, they couldn’t convert to advance to the NCAA Championship game. Duke goalkeeper Lauren Blazing notched eight saves in the second half alone.

“Of course, we’re exceedingly disappointed to not be in a position to play for the national championship,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “That’s a very, very much improved Duke team that came out with a lot of energy, a lot of conviction that executed quickly. We had a lot, just a little bit too late.”

Duke (17-6) got on the board quickly when Heather Morris tapped in a loose ball just 2:50 in.

Less than two minutes later, redshirt sophomore Kasey Tapman intercepted the ball and brought it all the way up to Maryland’s offensive circle. The Terrapins won a corner and senior Hayley Turner poked the tying goal through off the rebound to knot the game less than five minutes in.

The Blue Devils took the lead back with 17:31 to play in the first when Paula Heimbach deflected in a shot off a penalty corner. Emmie Le Marchand made it a 3-1 lead for the Blue Devils when she scored off her own rebound with 7:36 to play in the first.

Maryland answered back with a score 46 seconds later when sophomore Anna Dessoye finished off a pass in front of the goal from senior Jill Witmer to make it a 3-2 lead.

The Terrapin offense threatened throughout the second half to tie the game, but Blazing and the Blue Devil defense were able to thwart their attacks.

Overall, Maryland outshot Duke, 19-10, and had six penalty corners to the Blue Devils’ four.

This marked Maryland’s sixth straight appearance in the Final Four, 17th overall and 16th under Meharg. The Terrapins won the program’s 10th ACC title earlier this month.

This year’s senior class in Ali McEvoy, Jill Witmer, Hayley Turner, Christine Knauss, Shelby Sydnor and Natalie Hunter compiled a record of 80-13 (.860), went to the Final Four in every year of their careers and won two NCAA championships and two ACC titles.