Oct. 13, 2008
MEXICO CITY - After wrapping up a 5-1 victory over Penn on Sunday afternoon, the Maryland Terrapins turned their attentions to Mexico, where three of their teammates were preparing to play for the gold medal at the 2008 Pan-American Games with the U.S. Junior National Team. A few hours later, there was a second victory for the team to celebrate. Along with the rest of the American team, sophomore Katie O'Donnell and juniors Brianna Davies and Alexis Pappas were gold medalists as the United States beat Chile, 2-1 in overtime.
Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa./Wissahickon) served as the U.S. team captain and lived up to her billing, leading the team with eight goals scored over the five games of the tournament. She poured in four scores in the team's 6-1 semifinal victory over Mexico.
Meanwhile, Brianna Davies (Annville, Pa./Palmyra) led a staunch defense which allowed just four goals over the five-game tournament. The team shut out Bermuda before allowing single goals in each of its final four games.
All three Terrapins were in the starting lineup for each game of Team USA's run to gold.
The United States opened pool play against an overmatched Bermuda team, and wasted little time putting the game out of reach. Team USA ran out to a 21-0 thrashing. O'Donnell scored her first three goals of the tournament and Alexis Pappas (Mount Joy, Pa./Donegal) added one.
The next game was another romp for the United States. O'Donnell knocked home her fourth goal of the tournament as the Americans ran out to a 7-1 victory.
The final game of pool play pitted the United States against Chile for the first time. Chile struck first, and staked themselves to a 1-0 halftime advantage. For the first time, Team USA would have to play from behind, but a score in the 54th minute evened the score. The score would remain 1-1 as the teams fought to a draw, a foreshadowing of the tense gold medal game.
Having won Pool B, the United States found itself as the top seed heading into the semifinals and would face the Pool A runner up, Mexico. With the crowd backing the host team, Team USA knew it would be important to put the Mexicans away early.
O'Donnell and the Americans did just that, scoring three times before halftime to build up a healthy lead. O'Donnell pounded home two of the Americans' first half goals.
It was more of the same after intermission, as Team USA poured on the pressure with three more goals. O'Donnell tallied the final two insurance scores to make the final 6-1.
A rematch with Chile was looming.
Once again, Chile managed to do something that no other opponent could do to Team USA - hold them scoreless over the first half. In the 45th minute, though, the United States broke through, putting up a point which would eventually send the game to overtime.
Four minutes into overtime, the Americans scored off a penalty corner, giving Team USA a 2-1 victory. The celebrations were underway in Mexico City and College Park, as three Terps had led Team USA to gold.
There is little rest for the trio of gold medalists. They will fly back to College Park on Monday and rejoin the team in time for its game Tuesday evening at Princeton. The Terps and Tigers will get things underway at 7:00 p.m. in Princeton as Maryland begins the first of two games in the final road trip of the season. Fans can follow the action Tuesday night on WMUC Sports at their website, www.wmucsports.com.