Nov. 18, 2006
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - It took 100 minutes and a shootout for the Maryland field hockey team to advance to the NCAA Championship game after defeating Connecticut, 2-1, in penalty strokes in the semifinals. Redshirt senior Christina Restivo came off the bench to face the penalty strokes, making two saves to claim the win.
It is the first time since 1994 a NCAA semifinal game has been decided in penalty strokes. The second-ranked Terrapins face top-ranked Wake Forest in the title game for a rematch of the ACC championship from just three weeks ago. The Demon Deacons won the ACC crown, 1-0. Maryland won the regular-season matchup between the teams, 3-2, in September.
The only non-ACC team among the final four, Big East champion UConn (21-4) was looking for the upset bid and was undeterred by the unfamiliar territory. The Terps, Wake and Duke, who lost the WFU in the earlier semifinal, 5-4, in double overtime, were making their fourth-straight appearances in the semifinals.
The Huskies struck early. A penalty corner from Jennifer Kleinhans within the first four minutes of the game put UConn in front, 1-0. It was the first goal the Terps had allowed in the NCAA Tournament.
It was a back-and-forth battle the rest of the way in the first period, as Maryland battled to try and even the match. Finally, with just over three minutes left in the period, freshman Ameliet Rischen (Rotterdam, Netherlands) fired off a shot from the top right of the circle to tie things up at 1-1.
The teams remained deadlocked, despite Maryland's domination in the second half. The Terps attempted 17 shots over the final 65 minutes of the game, allowing just four UConn shots during that span, attempting just one in the final 35 minutes of regulation and through the first overtime.
Goalkeeper Andrea Mainiero, however, would not let up, making 13 stops in the game and forcing a penalty stroke.
In the stoke-off, both teams changed goalkeepers. Christina Restivo (Hereford, Md.) has been the team's stroke specialist throughout her four-year career in College Park. UConn was up first, making its first two attempts. Maryland matched the effort. But Restivo made stops on the Huskies' third and fourth strokes, while sophomore Ellen Ott (Schwenksville, Pa.) and senior Berber Rischen (Rotterdam, Netherlands) each made theirs to seal the victory and come away with the final, 2-1, result.
Maryland advances to the championship game for the second-straight year. The Terps won last year's NCAA crown with a 1-0 victory over Duke. With the WFU-Duke overtime match, it is the first time in NCAA history both semifinals matches had been decided in extra periods.
The Terps and Wake, who are two of five teams to win multiple championships, square off on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 12 p.m. The game will also be televised live on CSTV. For ticket information, log onto www.wakeforestsports.com.
Connecticut (21-4) 1 0 0 0 0 - 1 Maryland (22-2 1 0 0 0 1 - 2GOALS: UC, Jennifer Kleinhans (Meagan Hoffman, Meghan Wheeler), pc, 3:39; MD, Ameliet Rischen, un, 31:39. SHOTS: UC 7, MD 22. PENALTY CORNERS: UC 4, MD 6. SAVES: UC, Andrea Mainiero 13 (1 GA, 100:00), Briana Koza 0 (0 GA, 0:00); MD, Kathryn Masson 0 (1 GA, 100:00), Christina Restivo 0 (0 GA, 0:00).
Stroke-Off Results: UC: 11/Y 18/Y 22/N 21/N MD: 6/y 12/Y 15/Y 10/Y Maryland wins shootout, 4-2