Maryland Heads to 12th NCAA Championship game

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The ninth-ranked Maryland field hockey team (16-6) handled No.3 Michigan, 5-1, Friday in the NCAA Tournament Semifinals at Louisville’s Trager Stadium. The Terrapins scored four minutes into the match and never looked back as they advanced to their 12th NCAA Championship game.

Maryland will meet No. 1 Connecticut (20-0) Sunday at 2 p.m. in Louisville as the Terps play for the ninth NCAA title and eighth under head coach Missy Meharg.

"I couldn’t be happier for the program to back to the Final Four after four years and to be playing for a national championship," Meharg said. "Just credit to Michigan. They’re an incredible team and I am so proud for the Big Ten for how we are playing hockey and how we have evolved. If it weren’t for Michigan we wouldn’t be here today playing the way that we are playing.”

The Terrapins wasted no time getting on the board. Sophomore Madison Maguire tipped in a pass from fellow sophomore Kelee Lepage just four minutes into the Final Four match. Lepage brought the ball into the circle from the top left side and directed a shot toward the bottom right corner of the cage. Maguire was there to finish it off and give the Terps the first score.

Maryland extended its lead to 2-0 when Big Ten Freshman of the Year Bodil Keus banged in a low shot off a penalty corner in the 25th minute. Seniors Lein Holsboer and Brooke Adler set up the play. The Terps led 2-0 at halftime.

Just 1:14 into the second half, Maguire added her second score of the day to make it a three-goal lead for Maryland. Junior Linnea Gonzales brought it into the circle and Maguire finished off a rebounded shot for the score from the right side.

Michigan (21-3) got on the board in the 47th minute when Carly Bennett poked in a shot off a pass that crossed the goal line from Kayla Reed. The Terps led 3-1 with just over 23 minutes to play.

Less than four minutes later, Gonzales pushed it back to a three-goal lead for Maryland with under 20 minutes left in the match. Keus hit a hard shot into the circle that banged off the post, then Gonzales collected the loose ball and tapped it in for the score.

Maryland added its fifth goal when Keus scored off another penalty corner, again set up by Adler and Holsboer to lead 5-1 with 6:14 to go.

The Terps outshot the Wolverines, 8-5, and had two corners to three. Junior goalkeeper Sarah Holliday made three saves.

Maryland fell to Michigan, 3-2, in double overtime in Ann Arbor on Sept. 29. The Wolverines scored on the last second of the second overtime period. Since then, the Terrapins have won 10 of 11 games.

Michigan had not allowed a goal since Oct. 22 in a 6-2 win at No. 7 Louisville.

The NCAA Championship game Sunday will be at 2 p.m. and will be streamed live online at Live Stats will be available here. Updates will also be posted to the Maryland Field Hockey Twitter feed.

This is Maryland’s 23rd straight NCAA Tournament appearance - the longest active streak in the country. The Terps have made 29 NCAA Tournament appearances and are 60-21 (.741) all-time in NCAA Tournament games, which is the highest Tournament winning percentage in the nation. Meharg is 56-20 (.737) all-time in NCAA Tournament games. This is Maryland’s 18th Final Four, 17th under Meharg and first since 2013.

Head coach Missy Meharg is in her 30th season as head coach of the Terrapins. She’s led them to a record of 543-134-9 (.798), seven NCAA titles, 23 conference titles and 17 Final Fours. She has been named NFHCA National Coach of the Year an unprecedented nine times in her career.