Aug. 31, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. - The No. 1-ranked Maryland field hockey team won the 2009 Wildcat Classic Monday afternoon, after a 7-2 win over tournament host Northwestern. The Terps moved to 3-0 on the year.
Several members of the Maryland team found their way to the goal column, as four different Terps scored. Sophomore Brigitte Strother was the first Terrapin to score late in the first half off of an assist by junior Katie O'Donnell. Strother struck again less than three minutes later off of a pass from freshman Janessa Pope. Pope passed the ball from the endline past Northwestern's goalkeeper Katie Lynch to Strother for the score. Maryland went into halftime leading 2-0.
"Brigitte really got us going today," head coach Missy Meharg said. "It was definitely a great thing to see."
The Terps opened up an explosive second half, led by senior Nicole Muracco. Her first goal came nine minutes into the second half from freshman Colleen Gulick off of a drive from the outside circle that deflected in to the far post of the goal. Three minutes later, Northwestern's Stephanie Fortson forced a goal in to put the Wildcats on the board.
Less than four minutes after Fortson's goal, O'Donnell scored off a penalty corner pass from senior Emma Thomas to make the score 4-1. Maryland continued the scoring surge less than three minutes later when senior Ameliet Rischen hit a backhand shot near the top of the circle. Muracco added the Terps' final two goals in the last two minutes of the game. The first was hit from the circle by Rischen and deflected up high by Muracco. For the second, O'Donnell passed the ball to Muracco through a seam up the middle and Muracco scored by charging the goal. Chelsea Armstrong of Northwestern claimed the final goal of the scoring frenzy to finalize the score at 7-2.
Terps' senior goalkeeper Alicia Grater had five stops for Maryland and allowed just one of the Wildcats' two scores. The Terrapins nearly doubled Northwestern in shots, outshooting the Wildcats 17-9. The Terps took seven penalty corners and executed very well, according to Meharg.
"Northwestern is a much, much improved team. They came at us with a real postseason energy and it was a very, very valuable game. We worked our way into avery good second half. We got a lot of different players in," Meharg said. Five freshmen, Gulick, Pope, Danielle Kauffman, Lindsey Puckett, and Tara Zollinger, saw collegiate action over the weekend.
The Terrapins will head to Norfolk, Va. to take on No. 16 Old Dominion Friday at 5 p.m. On Sunday, the Terrapins will be hosting a reunion honoring the national championship team from 1999. Members of that team will be in College Park to celebrate.