Oct. 19, 2009

Courtesy of Delaware

NEWARK, Del. - The top-ranked Maryland Terrapins posted a hard-fought 4-0 victory over the No. 17 University of Delaware field hockey team during a non-conference clash at Rullo Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Goalie Noelle Diana had one of the finest games of her career, posting 10 saves to highlight an incredible effort in the cage for the Hens’ sophomore keeper.

Delaware (10-4) got off to a fiery start, earning a penalty corner in the opening moments of the game. The Hens’ lethal penalty-corner combination of Rae Everson, Missy Woodie, and Casey Howard almost struck, but a sprawling Alicia Grater snuffed out the opportunity.

Diana stood tall in the cage as well for UD, breaking from her end line position to swipe away a pair of Maryland crossing attempts. The first intercept had Diana 20-feet out of goal diving to kick aside a pass, while the second saw her break up a one-on-one attempt.

Off a penalty corner, the sophomore goalie made a spectacular diving stop, completely laying out to her left to rob Harriet Tibble of a goal. Later in the frame, she made a nearly identical save to rob Emma Thomas.

Eventually, the Blue Hen keeper finished the first half with six saves, including a glove-hand stop and a pair of kick saves that kept Delaware within striking distance.

Maryland (16-0) finally struck off of a penalty corner 10 minutes into the game as Emma Thomas unfurled a shot past Diana off a Katie O’Donnell feed and Alexis Pappas stop. The quick strike got past the wall of onrushing Delaware defenders and gave Diana no chance at deflecting it away.

O’Donnell helped set up another goal in the closing minutes of the first half as she fed Nicole Muracco, who hit the back of the net after making a pair of defenders miss. The goal slid into the bottom corner of the cage and gave Maryland its first insurance goal.

The Terrapin penalty corner combination struck again in the second half as Thomas made the same play that netted their first goal. She took the O’Donnell feed off the Pappas deflection, faked a shot, deked around a defender, and put it home.

The assist on the play moved O’Donnell into a tie for the national points lead, equaling Loren Sherer of Connecticut with 57. The assist, her 20th, also padded her national assist lead over Katelyn Falgowski of North Carolina, who she passed earlier in the day.

Muracco wasted no time getting on the scoreboard again, notching her 22nd goal of the year just a mere four minutes later. The goal was assisted by Thomas, who set up the score brilliantly.

Maryland controlled the pace of the game, out-shooting Delaware 21-5 and holding an 8-2 edge in penalty corners.

The game marked the first time since 2006 that the Blue Hens faced the national No.1 team. That season, the squad also lost to the Terrapins, 3-0. Overall, Delaware has now dropped 11 straight decisions to the powerful Terps since a 2-1 victory in 1998.

Maryland is led by head coach Missy Meharg, a former University of Delaware All-American field hockey player and teammate of current Hens head coach Carol Miller.

Delaware will return to action next Friday at 7 p.m. as the squad resumes conference play at home against Towson.

AGATE:

Maryland    2…2…4
Delaware    0…0…0

Scoring: First Half: Thomas (Pappas, O’Donnell), 9:51; Second Half: Muracco (O’Donnell), 33:57. Second Half: Thomas (O’Donnell, Pappas), 46:14; Muracco (Thomas), 50:08. Shots: UD – 5, UM – 21. Penalty Corners: UD – 2, UM – 8. Saves – UD (Diana) – 10, UM (Grater) – 1.