Nov. 8, 2009
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The top-seeded Maryland field hockey team battled back from an early two-goal deficit to beat the No. 3-seed and tournament host Virginia 3-2 in overtime Sunday afternoon in the finals of the ACC Tournament. The Terps claimed their eighth ACC Tournament championship and first back-to-back since they won four from 1998-2001.
The Terrapins battled back from an early two-goal deficit set by Virginia in the first half. Both teams had numerous opportunities to score in the first half, but Virginia was the first to capitalize. The Cavaliers' Charlotte Van Den Broke scored with a little over 20 minutes left in the first off a deflection from a penalty corner shot. It was just her second goal of year.
Less than eight minutes later, the Cavaliers' Tara Puffenberger scored off an assist from Michelle Vitesse with a tip in on the post. This put the Terrapins down 2-0, their largest deficit of the year.
Maryland struggled throughout the first half to find its offensive groove. Despite five penalty corner opportunities, the Terps were scoreless at the half for just the second time this year. The only other time was against Virginia as well on Oct. 2. After being down 1-0 at the half, Maryland scored three unanswered goals in the second half to claim the win.
O'Donnell finally got the Terrapins on track with a goal brought in from the right corner and tipped in from in front of the cage with 20 minutes remaining in the game.
Less than two minutes later, senior Nicole Muracco found her shot off a pass from fellow senior Alexis Pappas from in front of the cage to tie the game at 2-2. Muracco is just two goals away from owning Maryland's single-season goal record.
"At halftime, I talked about having no regrets and just believing in life. You know you're going to lose a game, but it doesn't end your life," head coach Missy Meharg said." The key is you believe and you dig deep and that game [first half] is over. We lost that game. We lost it 2-0. Let's get on the board and win the next one. I gave them some options if they wanted to play a different way."
The remaining minutes of the game were a battle, as both teams worked to score. After a break before heading into the 15 minute overtime period, Maryland was awarded a penalty corner within the first two minutes. Frazer scored the title-winning goal off an assist by Thomas from a penalty corner to seal Maryland's win at 3-2 just 1:52 into overtime.
The Terrapins outshot the Cavaliers 23-1 and held the Cavaliers to just two shots in the second half and none in the overtime period. Maryland also held an advantage in penalty corners 8-5. Senior goalkeeper Alicia Grater finished the day with five saves.
With their win today, the Terps earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament which starts next weekend. To find out where the Terrapins are headed and who they will play, tune into the Selection Show at NCAA.com Tuesday at 8 p.m.