Aug. 27, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland field hockey team was ranked No. 2 in the STX/National Field Hockey Coaches Association preseason poll, which was recently released. The Terrapins also received four first-place votes.
The Terrapins return 15 letterwinners from last year's squad that went 18-3 and ended the season ranked No. 3 in the nation. Nine starters also return, including ACC Offensive Player of the Year and U.S. National Team member Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa./Wissahickon). She was also an NFHCA All-American and a finalist for the Honda Award, presented to the top player in the nation. All-American Susie Rowe (London, England/Colfe's School) returns for her senior campaign to anchor the backfield, while 2006 All-American Nicole Muracco (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township) will be up front in the scoring circle, alongside O'Donnell. The trio combined for 42 of the team's 77 goals last year.
Considered the top field hockey conference in the nation, the ACC dominates the top of the poll. Defending NCAA Champion North Carolina claims the No. 1 spot, while Wake Forest is third behind the Terps. Virginia is 11th, Duke is 12th and Boston College is ranked 13th. The Eagles (Sept. 20), the Blue Devils (Oct. 11) and UNC (Oct. 25) all visit the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex this season, while Maryland travels to WFU (Sept. 27) and Virginia (Oct. 4).
The Terps open the 2008 season this weekend heading to the Keystone State. Maryland opens at Lock Haven, the Northeast Conference champions, on Aug. 31, then heads to Penn State for an early test. The Nittany Lions are ranked sixth in the preseason poll and upset Maryland in last year's NCAA Tournament to advance to the national semifinals.
Also ranked in the preseason poll are 2008 Maryland opponents Old Domion (#8), Michigan (#9), American (#15), Princeton (#16) and Syracuse (#18).
The Terps open the home slate on Monday, September 1 against the Lady Monarchs of ODU on Friday, Sept. 5 at 3 p.m. Admission to home field hockey games are free.