Sept. 17, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Second-ranked Maryland field hockey broke a scoreless tie in the second half, then added an insurance goal late in the game to edge out No. 14 American on Wednesday afternoon at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex. The Eagles were the fifth ranked opponent the Terps have faced just seven games into the season.
"AU is a great team. They are ranked in the top 20 and will no doubt be in the top 10," said 21-year Maryland head coach Missy Meharg. "We have to continue to work on setting the tone of passion and energy from the start of a game, however. This was a battle and I am very pleased with the outcome. This will prepare us for the ACC slate, which begins this weekend."
One of the most anticipated matchups of the season, pitting two of the nation's top field hockey squads, located just miles away from each other. It was a thrilling matchup which did not disappoint. The first half finished with a 0-0 tie, neither team being able to generate much offense. Maryland (6-1) had just five shots in the period, while American (3-3) had three. Penalty corners were a rarity, as well, with the Terps getting the edge at 2-1.
The second half began in much the same way, with the teams not being able to break through the other's defense. It took 23 minutes into the second half before the Terps finally struck first. Senior captain Ellen Ott (Schwenksville, Pa./Perkioman Valley) knocked in a goal off a penalty corner in the 55th minute, with junior Alexis Pappas (Mount Joy, Pa./Donegal) getting the assist.
Maryland picked up the intensity and began to trouble the AU backfield. The Terps had 11 shots in the half, including two coming on a scramble in the scoring circle. Junior Ameliet Rischen's (Rotterdam, Netherlands/Wolfert van Borselen) shot was saved but created problems for the AU defense. The rebound ricocheted up in the air and junior Nicole Muracco (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township) batted it down into the cage for the goal, giving Maryland a 2-0 lead with less than 12 minutes to play.
American sensed it was running out of time and pushed forward to create scoring chances. The there was a scramble in front of the Maryland cage. AU attempted a couple of shots, which were saved by Terp goalkeeper Alicia Grater (Gilbertsville, Pa./Boyertown Area), but Christine Fingerhuth took control of a rebound and knocked it in for the score, bringing the Eagles to within, 2-1 in the 66th minute.
The final score would stand, however. With just four minutes remaining in regulation, the Terps were able to hang on for the win.
Maryland outshot American, 16-11, and had the slight edge on corners, 6-5. AU goalie Alyssa Poorman had nine saves in the 70 minutes, while Grater ended with three. All three of American's losses have come to teams ranked in the national top 10.
Maryland returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 20, opening ACC play hosting Boston College. Game time is slated for 1 p.m. Field hockey fans are advised to arrive early because of heightened traffic due to the Maryland football game, also slated for 1 p.m. There will be a $15 charge for parking on campus, however, admission to the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex is free.
#14 American (3-4) 0 1 - 1 #2 Maryland (6-1) 0 2 - 2GOALS: AU, Christine Fingerhuth (un), 66:00; MD, Ellen Ott (Alexis Pappas), 54:05; Nicole Muracco (un), 58:44. SHOTS: AU 11, MD 16. PENALTY CORNERS: AU 5, MD 6. SAVES: AU, Alyssa Poorman 9 (2 GA, 70:00); MD, Alicia Grater 3 (1 GA, 70:00). ATTENDANCE: 136.