Oct. 17, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland field hockey team knew that the Old Dominion team they were playing on Friday night was not the same as the team they had beaten 8-1 in early September. This ODU team was on a 5-2 run and looking once again like the team that has given the Terrapins fits over the past several seasons.
Fortunately for Maryland, Old Dominion wasn't the only team to have improved over that time. The Terps came from behind late to take a 2-1 victory in Norfolk. Senior Emma Thomas, who was not on the roster for the first game, scored the game tying goal with just over 11 minutes to play, and junior Nicole Muracco added the game winner six minutes later.
"We are proud to have withstood an exceedingly different Old Dominion team than we played in September," head coach Missy Meharg said. "They were fit and fast, and eager to play us on their beautiful new field."
The Terps (12-2, 3-1 ACC) peppered the ODU half circle all night, outshooting the Lady Monarchs 10-3. However, neither team could muster many shots on goal as solid defenses aided their respective goalies.
Despite earning just two penalty corners to the Terps' six, Old Dominion (6-8, 4-1 CAA) capitalized on one late in the first half as Kathleen Shea gained control of a rebounded save off a corner and sent it into the cage to give them an initial 1-0 lead.
Defense continued to be the name of the game in the second half. But things changed after the Terps called a timeout with 15 minutes to play. Refocused after the break, Emma Thomas (High Wycombe, England/Wycombe) took a pass from sophomore Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa./Wissahickon) and ripped it into the cage to even the score.
Just minutes later, the Terps were threatening again. O'Donnell gained control of the ball near the top of the circle and fed a streaking Nicole Muracco (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township) near the edge of the cage. Coming off a career-high four-goal performance against Princeton, Muracco was not about to miss as she put the Terps up for good, 2-1.
"I am proud of the girls for being able to settle down and stay very persistent in the second half," Meharg commented. "It's a credit to the character of this team in terms of playing with conviction."
The late heroics from Thomas, O'Donnell and Muracco sealed the win, but it was the defense which keyed the victory against a much improved Lady Monarch squad. Old Dominion managed to take just three shots, only two of which made it to goalie Alicia Grater (Gilbertsville, Pa./Boyertown Area), who had one save.
The win in Norfolk was the final road test of the regular season for the Terrapins, who return home Sunday to take on Delaware at 2:00 p.m. Parking and admission will be free at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex.
#2 Maryland (12-2, 3-1) 0 2 - 2 Old Dominion (6-8, 4-1) 1 0 - 1
GOALS: MD, Emma Thomas (Katie O'Donnell), 58:49; Nicole Muracco (Katie O'Donnell), 64:32; ODU, Kathleen Shea (un), 31:05. PENALTY CORNERS: MD 6, ODU 2. SAVES: MD, Alicia Grater 1 (1 GA, 70:00); ODU, Kelly Driscoll 2 (2 GA, 70:00).