Oct. 14, 2008
PRINCETON, N.J. - Junior Nicole Muracco liked playing at Princeton's Class of 1952 Stadium two years ago, when she scored two goals to help the Terps to a 4-1 victory in her freshman season.
Now as an upperclassman, Muracco loved it.
The forward demolished her previous career high, scoring four goals as the Terps shut out Princeton, 5-0.
Junior Alicia Grater (Gilbertsville, Pa./Boyertown Area) anchored a defense which stifled the Tigers attack, registering nine saves, just one shy of a career high she set over the weekend.
"Princeton is a very athletic and talented hockey team," head coach Missy Meharg said after the game. "Maryland took a step towards the style of team attack we want to play."
In front of a large crowd of 530, the Terps (12-2, 3-1) managed to put the pressure on right away, forcing seven first-half penalty corners to just two for Princeton (9-2, 3-0). Six minutes into the game, Maryland capitalized on one of those corners when Muracco (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township) reeled in a rebounded save and put it in the back of the cage for her first tally of the evening.
A few minutes later, the Terps had a tremendous opportunity when Tiger goalie Cynthia Wray came far out of the net and Meghan Dean (Marathon, N.Y./Marathon Central) beat her around the corner. Dean ripped a shot towards the far corner of the cage, but Princeton's Candice Amer lunged and got a stick on the ball, registering a defensive save.
The Terps were not deterred. Gaining two more penalty corners in succession, Maryland made good on the second. The ball came in and was left for Emma Thomas (High Wycombe, England/Wycombe), who faked a shot and drew the attention of Princeton's defense. Thomas maintained control of the ball, though, and dished it off to Ellen Ott (Schwenksville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) streaking down the right side of the half circle. Ott slammed the ball home and the Terps were up, 2-0.
Thomas' fake was the first of several which had Wray befuddled throughout the evening. Later in the second half, Muracco twice benefitted from passes served up by sophomore Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa./Wissahickon) after O'Donnell had deked Wray to the turf.
O'Donnell, along with juniors Brianna Davies (Annville, Pa./Palmyra) and Alexis Pappas (Mount Joy, Pa./Donegal), was playing in her first game back with the Terrapins after winning gold with the Junior United States National Team at the Pan-American Games in Mexico City, Mexico last week. Team USA defeated Chile, 2-1, in the gold medal game Sunday.
Meharg noted the way in which the three medalists transitioned back into life with the Terps.
"The emotion and camaraderie of the three players coming back from the Junior Pan-American Games was a testament to our team's potential," Meharg projected.
While Muracco was providing the firepower, Grater and a stalwart defense gave Maryland its first shutout of the month. Although the Terps held a distinct penalty corner advantage in the first half, Princeton stormed back with five corners to one for Maryland in the second. Nonetheless, Grater held her ground, deflecting shot after shot wide of the net as yet another chance went unfulfilled for the Tigers.
The Terps now have just one more road game before they come home for the remainder of the regular season. Maryland will travel to Old Dominion on Friday. Game time is set for 5:00 p.m.
#2 Maryland (12-2, 3-1) 2 3 - 5 #12 Princeton (9-2, 3-0) 0 0 - 0
GOALS: MD, Nicole Muracco (un), 6:14; Ellen Ott (Emma Thomas), 20:08; Nicole Muracco (Brianna Davies), 52:07; Nicole Muracco (Katie O'Donnell), 64:39; Nicole Muracco (Katie O'Donnell), 66:07. PENALTY CORNERS: MD 8, PRIN 7. SAVES: MD, Alicia Grater 9 (0 GA, 70:00); PRIN, Cynthia Wray 5 (5 GA, 70:00). ATTENDANCE: 530