CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Top-ranked Maryland field hockey dealt No. 3 North Carolina its second straight loss Saturday as the Terps (11-0, 3-0 ACC) battled back from a one-goal deficit with seven minutes to play to win in overtime.
Senior Jill Witmer, in her first game back after playing with the U.S. National Team in the Pan American Games, scored both of Maryland’s goals to lead them to the victory. She tipped in a long shot from Mieke Hayn to tie the game with just over seven minutes to play, then took the gamewinner all the way in herself with a backhanded shot in the 76thminute.
“It’s hard not to love the outcome,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “I want to give credit to the athletes on both teams. The heat and the humidity were rigorous. It came down to the team and the player that were going to make this day end. Our depth was very good. I’m very proud of the team and the staff for putting together a very different fall-away press that worked very well against North Carolina’s strong midfield. Our midfield matched their midfield comfortably.”
The matchup was a fierce defensive battle in the first half, as both teams were scoreless. North Carolina (8-2, 1-2) scored the first goal of the game in the 48th minute when Marta Malmberg put in a loose ball off a save on a penalty corner play.
With 9:22 to go and the Terps down by one, Meharg used her timeout. Just over two minutes later, the adjustments worked and Maryland tied the game. Hayn sent in a shot from five yards out on the right side of the circle and Witmer got her stick on it to tie the game with 7:17 to play. Maryland controlled most of the last seven minutes for a chance to take the lead, but the teams went to overtime for the fifth time in 10 meetings since 2009
In the 7-vs.-7 overtime period, North Carolina first had opportunities to win the game, but the Terrapin defense and Natalie Hunter in goal stepped up to hold the Tar Heels off. Less than three minutes into the overtime period, UNC’s Kristen Bernatchez was given a yellow card when she tripped Katie Gerzabek near midfield. The Terrapins were up a player for five minutes
In the 76th minute, Witmer took control of the ball and took it all the way in from outside the circle. She sent in a backhanded shot for the win and her ninth goal of the year.
North Carolina outshot Maryland, 9-6, and both teams had three penalty corner opportunities. Hunter picked up five saves on the day
The win is Maryland’s 50th all-time overtime victory. The Terps are 50-16 (.757) in overtime games. This is the first time since September of 2008 North Carolina lost back to back games and first since 2006 when they lost back-to-back games at home
Next, the Terps will welcome Hofstra (4-7, 1-0 CAA) Tuesday for a 7 p.m. matchup at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex. Admission and parking are both free. The game will be streamed live online for a fee on UMTerps.com and live updates will be at https://twitter.com/TerpFieldHockey. Next Friday, Maryland will welcome the defending national champion Princeton Tigers at 7 p.m. at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex.