COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Each week during the 2013-14 season a Maryland student-athlete, who has shown excellence on and off the playing field, will be selected as the Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week. This week's Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week is senior Jill Witmer, from the field hockey team.
Witmer has helped Maryland to a 6-0 start so far. In the Terps' two games last weekend, the forward scored three goals with an assist to lead the Terrapins with seven points. They beat Columbia, 9-2, and Miami (Ohio), 6-0.
By Rose DiPaula
The Maryland field hockey team has long been known for being home to some of the nation's best players. Terrapin great and 2012 Olympian Katie O'Donnell led the Terps from 2007-10, but before she left, she helped head coach Missy Meharg look ahead to the future.
In 2007, the Terps were coming off of back-to-back NCAA titles. They entered the NCAA Tournament looking forward to hopefully playing at home at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex for the Final Four. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out as planned. Maryland fell to Penn State, 1-0 in the Second Round.
As O'Donnell sat at home the weekend of the Final Four, she flipped on the television and saw the local high school tournament on. She saw a blonde streaking up the field and made a phone call.
Meharg was on the other end of the call. "OD called me and stated, 'I want to play with this kid from Penn Manor High School in my senior year, Missy. Her name is Jill Witmer.'"
Witmer came to Maryland and in her freshman year, O'Donnell's senior year, they won a national championship at home at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex.
"That was such an amazing feeling to win it here in front of an amazing crowd," Witmer said. "What a way to start."
The Terrapins went on to win the 2011 NCAA title in Louisville, with Witmer scoring the game-winning goal in overtime as a sophomore.
Now as a junior, the Terrapins have a different team mindset. Maryland currently leads the country in every offensive category. The Terrapins have speed, depth and smarts and have used them all this season. Witmer has now had to take over and be the older leader for the younger forwards.
"It's a different role for me, but I just think we all play so well together," Witmer said. "We just flow and are really working on framing the goal cage and making the most of shots. We are really working hard to get where we want to be."