Nov. 23, 2008
The Maryland field hockey seniors entered College Park as part of the ACC and National title team of 2005. As this year's postseason got underway, they had one goal for November - come in with trophies, leave with trophies.
On Sunday, No. 1-ranked Maryland accomplished that goal, winning its third national title in four years by defeating ACC rival and second-ranked Wake Forest, 4-2. Senior Susie Rowe scored the game-winner early in the second half when she finished one final perfect penalty corner, her 28th goal of the season to tie a Maryland record.
It was a historic season for Rowe, who capped it with a goal and an assist in the final. A senior from London, England, Rowe had already become the first player in Maryland history to record at least 70 points - she finished with 74 on the season - before her record-tying goal on Sunday.
Rowe, sophomore Katie O'Donnell and juniors Brianna Davies and Alicia Grater were named to the All-Tournament Team. Grater, who needed to make just one save against Wake Forest thanks to the stellar play of Davies and the rest of the defense, had six stops against Iowa including three in the second overtime. Davies, who not only contributed to the staunch defense but also found her way as a playmaker with the ball on her stick, weaved her way into the circle and assisted on the game's final tally.
After two thrilling games against Wake Forest prior to Sunday, including a 4-3 win over the Deacons in the ACC Championship Game which was decided by a Nicole Muracco goal with under three minutes to play, Maryland's defense clamped down on Wake Forest on Sunday. The Terps ripped 13 shots to just 5 for Wake Forest, and earned 9 penalty corners, compared to just 2 for Wake.
Neverthess, Wake Forest got on the board first when Hilary Moore got a stick on a hard pass into the half circle, deflecting it into the cage midway through the period.
The goal for the Demon Deacons seemed to wake the Terrapins up. Turning up the pressure, Maryland earned several penalty corners, and finally converted seven minutes after Wake scored the first goal. On their fifth penalty corner of the half, Maryland lit up the scoreboard when Ellen Ott (Schwenksville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) left the ball for Susie Rowe (London, England/Colfe's School), whose hard pass to the right edge of the goal was deflected in by Nicole Muracco (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township).
With the score tied, Maryland did not ease up on the gas. Again keeping the ball out of their end of the field for the most part, Maryland found itself with several scoring opportunities. Then, with under four minutes to go in the half, Katie O'Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa./Wissahickon) took control near midfield and blazed by several Wake Forest defenders.
Moving into the circle, O'Donnell used a move which has become one of her signatures during the postseason, faking the Deacons' goalie Crystal Duffield to the ground. O'Donnell maneuvered past the prone Duffield and finished the play to grab the lead for the Terps.
Five minutes into the second half, Maryland once again started piling up the penalty corners. Twice they came up just short, including an unconventional play on which junior Ameliet Rischen (Rotterdam, Netherlands/Wolfert van Borselen) triggered the play with O'Donnell, the usual trigger, on the perimeter of the circle.
On their third penalty corner in rapid succession, Maryland came through.
Taking O'Donnell's inbounds pass, Alexis Pappas (Mount Joy, P./Donegal) left it for Rowe, who sent a laser beyond Duffield and into the cage, giving the Terps a two-goal lead.
Appropriately, it was a senior who scored the final goal of the season for the Terps. After Brianna Davies (Annville, Pa./Palmyra) drove into the circle and created space for herself, it was senior Danielle Keeley (Elkton, Md./North East) who knocked in Davies' pass. Keeley, who scored her third career goal as time expired on senior night, made it three scores in the postseason with the deflection.
Wake Forest added a second goal in the final moments, but it was too little, too late.
#2 Wake Forest (22-4) 1 1 - 2 #1 Maryland (22-2) 2 2 - 4 GOALS: WF, Hilary Moore (Liza Casella) 17:16; Hilary Moore (un) 68:40. MD, Nicole Muracco (Susie Rowe) 24:58; Katie O'Donnell (un) 31:35; Susie Rowe (Alexis Pappas, Katie O'Donnell) 42:05; Danielle Keeley (Brianna Davies) 45:29. PENALTY CORNERS: MD 9, WF 2. SAVES: WF, Crystal Duffield 4 (4 GA, 70:00); MD, Alicia Grater 1 (2 GA, 70:00). GREEN CARDS: WF, none. MD, Katie O'Donnell (45:35). ATTENDANCE: 809