Maryland Captures Seventh ACC Field Hockey Championship In Dramatic Fashion Over Wake Forest, 4-3
Nov. 9, 2008
DURHAM, N.C. - The No. 1 ranked Maryland Terrapins won their seventh Atlantic Coast Conference field hockey championship and first since 2005 on Sunday with a dramatic win in the final moments over second ranked Wake Forest at Jack Katz Stadium in Durham, N.C. Junior forward Nicole Muracco scored two goals including the game winning goal with only 2:42 remaining in regulation.
"(This) Maryland team pulled out a championship against an incredibly athletic and talented Wake Forest team," said Maryland head coach Missy Meharg. "Our women seem to empower each other. When they're down or when they're up, they see the game as an even score. They're so vigorous. I'm just really honored by the way they compete with seemingly adverse situations. It took us a while to get us in our groove and really compete and go for broke. We're just really proud of the women and the way they played."
For the game's first 14 minutes, both teams defenses' held tough. At 14:57, Maryland senior Danielle Keeley deflected the first goal of the game into the goal off a breakaway assist by ACC Offensive Player of the Year Katie O'Donnell. It was Keeley's third goal of the season.
After trailing for only 25 seconds, Wake Forest answered with a goal from senior All-ACC honoree Minou Gimbrere. Her shot from the top of the circle evened the match at 1-1. She was assisted by junior Kim Romansky. Six minutes later, junior Melissa Martin scored her ninth goal of the season to give the Deacons their first lead of the match. Coming off a penalty corner, she was assisted by Gimbrere and senior All-ACC selection Michelle Kasold.
The score line held for the first five minutes of the second half until Maryland junior Nicole Muracco positioned herself correctly to score an easy goal off a rebound from Wake Forest goalkeeper Crystal Duffield. The goal was Muracco's 19th of the season.
Three minutes later, O'Donnell scored her second assist of the match as her breakaway and pass put senior Sarah Scholl in position to give Maryland its second lead of the game. Scholl's fifth goal of the season gave Maryland the momentum advantage. However, 60 seconds later, Wake Forest junior Raisa Schiller answered with an unassisted goal of her own to knot the score at 3-3 with just over 21 minutes remaining.
With 2:42 remaining in regulation, as overtime looked a certainty, Muracco scored again to give Maryland a 4-3 lead. O'Donnell assisted on the game winning goal which gave Maryland their seventh ACC title in the school's 20th appearance in the ACC Field Hockey Championship Game.
There were four lead changes in the match which saw 21 total shots with nine saves. Wake Forest had 12 shots, nine on goal while Maryland tallied nine efforts, seven on goal. The Deacons led in penalty corners, 4-2.
The Terrapins extend their winning streak to eight consecutive matches, while Wake Forest's string of ten straight wins snapped on Sunday.
Wake Forest, and the rest of the ACC, will now wait to learn where they will play in the NCAA Field Hockey Championship. Selections for the NCAA Tournament, which will begin next Saturday, November 15, will be announced Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday's ACC Championship game will be broadcast on regional sports networks in the ACC footprint starting on Sunday (11/9) evening at 6 p.m. where it will be seen on Fox Sports South and NESN. On Monday (11/10) night at 7 p.m., Comcast Sports Net will air the game. Finally on Tuesday (11/11) at Noon, Sun Sports will present the game.
ACC Championship All-Tournament Team
ACC Championship MVP
ACC Freshman of the Year