Oct. 25, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The players were soaked as a hard rain which started a half an hour before game time continued through much of the first half, but the Maryland field hockey team did not slip. The top-ranked Terrapins locked up the number one seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament by defeating No. 5 North Carolina, 7-0. Senior Susie Rowe and junior Nicole Muracco each scored twice in the victory, the second straight shutout and third in four games for the Maryland defense.
Maryland withstood some North Carolina pressure early, as the Tar Heels controlled the time of possession in the first ten minutes. Despite holding the ball in the Maryland half circle numerous times, North Carolina could get off just one shot, which went wide off a penalty corner.
Getting the ball back, junior Nicole Muracco (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township) weaved through defenders and made her way from near midfield inside the UNC half circle. Having eluded several Tar Heels, she had only goalie Jackie Kintzer to beat, and Muracco pounded a shot home to give Maryland an early 1-0 lead.
The goal seemed to take the wind out of the Tar Heels' sails, as they did not sustain any more offensive pressure for almost the entire game.
Maryland kept the heat on Kintzer and the Tar Heels. Ten minutes after getting on the board, sophomore Meghan Dean (Marathon, N.Y./Marathon Central) peppered two quick shots that the UNC defense was able to turn away, but the Tar Heels could not control the rebound. Junior Alexis Pappas (Mount Joy, Pa./Donegal) reeled in the ball and found an opening, putting Maryland up two goals.
Five minutes later, the Terps were once again on the move. When an open Terrapin charged into the half circle and drew Kintzer out to play the ball, the Tar Heel goalie drew too much contact, allowing senior Susie Rowe (London, England/Colfe's School) a penalty shot. Rowe did not waste the opportunity, going high and to Kintzer's right to light up the scoreboard yet again.
Maryland went into halftime with a three goal lead after having fallen to then-No. 1 North Carolina, 3-0, in Chapel Hill last season. Most impressively, the Terrapins, who were outshot 28-0 in that game, were turning the tables on their visitors, outshooting them 8-1 through the period. Maryland had already gotten to Kintzer, the nation's top goalie coming into the game, three times, and the rout was on.
Just seven minutes into the second half, Maryland once again had possession inside the UNC half circle after earning four penalty corners in less than three minutes. From the top, Rowe unleashed a line drive shot which Muracco got a stick on, deflecting it into the goal for her 17th of the season and second of the game.
The fifth goal came off yet another penalty corner. A textbook inbounds pass went to Ameliet Rischen (Rotterdam, Netherlands/Wolfert van Borselen), who dished it off to Pappas and on to Rowe, who converted on her 20th goal of the season.
Rowe was involved in another pretty play off a penalty corner eight minutes later. Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa./Wissahickon) sent the ball into Rowe, who dished it right back to O'Donnell, who had been left all alone to the right of backup Tar Heel goalie Brianna O'Donnell.
Senior Ellen Ott (Schwenksville, Pa./Perkioman Valley) concluded the scoring when she converted on the second penalty shot opportunity of the game for the Terps. Ott laced a shot over O'Donnell's left shoulder with just over a minute to play, giving Maryland a 7-0 lead.
Maryland has one game remaining in the regular season, a matchup with Virginia Commonwealth on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. Admission to the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex will be free as the Terps prepare to honor their five seniors on Senior Night while completing the regular season.
#5 North Carolina (12-4, 3-2) 0 0 - 0 #1 Maryland (15-2, 4-1) 3 4 - 7
GOALS: UNC, None. MD, Nicole Muracco (un), 11:41; Alexis Pappas (un), 22:39); Susie Rowe (penalty shot), 27:34; Nicole Muracco (Susie Rowe), 42:40; Susie Rowe (Alexis Pappas, Ameliet Rischen), 52:17; Katie O'Donnell (Susie Rowe), 60:03; Ellen Ott (penalty shot), 68:53. PENALTY CORNERS: UNC 5, MD 9 SAVES: NC, Jackie Kinzter 4 (5 GA, 58:46); Brianna O'Donnell 1 (2 GA, 11:14). MD, Alicia Grater 0 (0 GA, 59:21); Melissa Vassalotti 0 (0 GA, 10:39); Team 1 ATTENDANCE: 352