One of the lessons Maryland head coach Missy Meharg said the Terrapins learned during last year’s championship run was that the score didn’t matter…you just had to be one goal up at the end of the game.
That’s exactly the position in which Meharg’s Terrapins found themselves when the final seconds ticked away on their 1-0 victory at Wake Forest in the Division I Field Hockey Championship game November 19.
"The greatest thing about this team is that they work hard and are attentive to the detail of the plan. Today they followed the plan to a ‘T’," said Meharg, who orchestrated the Terrapins’ second straight title. "One of the things we recognized from last year — winning the championship with the same score — it doesn’t matter if it’s 5-0 or 1-0…all you have to do is be one goal up at the end of the game."
A crowd of about 2,400 watched the defensive battle unfold between two teams that have won the last five Division I titles. Maryland and Wake Forest combined for just 11 shots, the fewest ever recorded in an NCAA tournament final. With the victory, the Terrapins snapped the Deacons’ 12-game winning streak.
The game’s single goal came in the first half when Maryland senior Emily Trycinski emerged from a scramble around the net to poke the ball past Wake Forest goalie Crystal Duffield at the 30:08 mark.
Wake Forest, the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season and postseason tournament champion, entered the game averaging more than 22 shots a game, but the Deacons didn’t attempt a shot in the first period and their lone penalty corner was stopped. Wake Forest head coach Jennifer Averill said the team began to settle into its style in the second period but couldn’t capitalize on scoring opportunities. The Deacons had two unobstructed shots at the goal in the second half — one from Christina Suggs with a little more than 18 minutes remaining and a penalty corner from Lauren Crandall — but both missed high.
"The first half wasn’t indicative of our play, and I’ll give credit to Maryland," said Averill, the 2006 ACC coach of the year. "I knew the game was going to be more or less a battle of who could press the other team and they did a good job. In the second half, I thought that we really showed our integrity in our play and our style that has gotten us to this point. We really started to play some good field hockey, and I said to the kids after the game that we put ourselves in a position to tie the game and we just didn’t execute."
This was the third meeting between the schools this season and it marked the second time the teams have met for a national championship. The Deacons beat the Terrapins, 3-0, in the 2004 final.
Both teams needed extra minutes in semifinal action to advance to the title game. Wake Forest, which finished the season 22-2, defeated Duke, 5-4, in double overtime, and Maryland, which finished 23-1 on the year, advanced past Connecticut, 2-1, on penalty strokes (4-2).
Maryland’s Trycinski, Paula Infante, Christina Restivo, Susie Rowe and Janneke van Leeuwen were named to the all-tournament team with Kristi Harshman, Jaime Whitten, Lauren Crandall and Michelle Kasold of Wake Forest, Connecticut’s Lizzy Peijs and Laura Suchoski of Duke.
Connecticut 1 0 0 0 0 — 1
Maryland 1 0 0 0 1 — 2
First half: C — Jennifer Kleinhans (Meagan Hoffmann and Meghan Wheeler), 3:39; M — Ameliet Rischen (unassisted), 31:39.
Overtime: Maryland advances on penalty strokes, 4-2.
Shots: Connecticut 7, Maryland 22. Goalkeeper saves: Connecticut (Andrea Mainiero) 13, Maryland (Kathryn Masson) 0. Penalty corners: Connecticut 4, Maryland 6.
Duke 1 3 0 0 —4
Wake Forest 2 2 0 1 — 5
First half: D — Cara-Lynn Lopresti (Elizabeth Floyd), 1:18; WF — Christine Suggs (unassisted), 8:37; WF – Suggs (Haley Scott), 33:33.
Second half: D — Ashley Pultorak (Laura Suchoski), 39:07; WF — Kristi Harshman (Lauren Crandall), 43:05; WF — Crandall (Michelle Kasold, Jamie Whitten), 64:59; D — Hilary Linton (unassisted), 68:52; D — Floyd (Suchoski), 69:42.
Overtime: WF — Kasold (Suggs), 86:36.
Shots: Duke 9, Wake Forest 17. Goalkeeper saves: Duke (Caitlin Williams) 8, Wake Forest (Crystal Duffield) 2. Penalty corners: Duke 3, Wake Forest 5.
Maryland 1 0 — 1
Wake Forest 0 0 — 0
First half: M — Emily Trycinski (unassisted), 30:08.
Shots: Maryland 7, Wake Forest 4. Goalkeeper saves: Maryland (Kathryn Masson) 2, Wake Forest (Crystal Duffield) 2. Penalty corners: Maryland 2, Wake Forest 2.