NCAA Champion: Maryland Wins Second Straight NCAA Championship with Overtime Win vs. North Carolina

Nov. 20, 2011

National Champs! Terps Top #1 UNC, 3-2, in OT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The fourth-ranked Maryland field hockey team (19-4) came back from a two-goal deficit with less than four minutes remaining in regulation to top No. 1 North Carolina, 3-2, in overtime for its eighth national title and fifth in seven years.

Freshman Katie Gerzabek scored the first Terrapin goal in the 67th minute, senior Jemma Buckley ripped in the equalizer with no time on the clock in regulation, and sophomore Jill Witmer netted the game-winner in the 81st minute for the Terps' fifth NCAA crown in seven years (2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011).

Since the NCAA began seeding the top four teams in the Tournament in 2002, the Terps are the first unseeded team to win a title. They beat the top three teams (Syracuse, Old Dominion, North Carolina) in order, en route to their repeat crown.

"Can't say enough what an amazing team North Carolina (23-2) is and they have been all year," head coach Missy Meharg said. "They were so far above us in the first half and at halftime, we just spoke about competing and playing with intangibles. We couldn't be more proud of the Maryland team."

The Tar Heels took a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute when Kelsey Kolojejchick found Elizabeth Stephens by the post for the deflection. They would take that one-goal lead into the break.

North Carolina added its second goal with 7:57 left in the game when Kolojejchick brought it up and again found Stephens around the cage for the tip-in.

Meharg pulled goalkeeper Melissa Vassalotti with 4:28 left in the game and the Terps down by two. 42 seconds later, Gerzabek tipped in a long pass from the corner by junior Harriet Tibble to cut the Heels' lead to 2-1.

With 17 seconds to play, the Terrapins were awarded their third penalty corner of the game. Janessa Pope inserted on the play, Tibble stopped, and Buckley drilled in the equalizer with no time left on the clock to send the game to overtime for the second straight year.

Tar Heels Fall in Rainy Title Game

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - On the heels of an overtime victory in the NCAA semifinals on Friday, the top-ranked North Carolina field hockey team found itself on the flip side of a thriller on Sunday afternoon, falling 3-2 in overtime to Maryland in the NCAA Championship game at Trager Stadium. UNC led 2-0 with less than four minutes remaining in the game, but the Terrapins scored once in the 67th minute and again with no time on the clock to send the game into overtime. In the extra period, Maryland sophomore Jill Witmer scored an unassisted goal in the 81st minute to give her team the title.

"We're very disappointed not to have won the national championship," said UNC coach Karen Shelton, who was going for her seventh in 31 seasons at Carolina. "As thrilling as it was on Friday night, it was as heartbreaking today for our team and particularly our seniors. In sport, games can swing on a couple of decisions or big plays. Congratulations to the University of Maryland for doing what we did to UConn just a couple of nights ago.

"I couldn't be prouder of the seniors on our team who really played outstanding. Everybody played their hearts out. In the end Maryland got the goals when they needed to and found away to win. Again, we're very very disappointed, but I'm very proud of the young women who represent the University of North Carolina and I'm proud of the way we played. I think we played the kind of game we wanted to play and we put ourselves in a position to win. In the closing minutes it slipped away from us and Maryland had a lot to do with that."

The championship is the eighth in program history for Maryland (19-4). UNC (23-2), which was playing for its third title in the past five years, fell to the Terrapins in overtime in the championship game for the second year in row. Senior Elizabeth Stephens scored both UNC goals, with each coming on an assist from junior Kelsey Kolojejchick. Eight minutes into the game, Kolojejchick sent a pass from the right side across the cage to Stephens, who tipped it in from the far post. The Tar Heels led 1-0 at halftime after outshooting Maryland 9-1 in the first period.

UNC's second goal came with just under eight minutes remaining in the game and was the 11th of the season for Stephens, a forward from St. Louis. Kolojejchick took the ball to the right of the cage then fed Stephens, who fired it into the net behind UM keeper Melissa Vassalotti, who made eight saves on the day.