Nov. 6, 2009

Courtesy of Maryland

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Top-seeded Maryland withstood two second-half goals by Wake Forest to defeat the fourth-seeded Demon Deacons, 3-2, in the semifinals of the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Field Hockey Championship at the University of Virginia Turf Field in Charlottesville, Va.

With the win, the Terrapins improve to 19-0 overall for the first time in school history and advance to the ACC Championship Game on Sunday, November 8.  The loss drops Wake Forest to 12-6 overall.

Each team took several shots inside the circle during the early going, but neither could capitalize on any scoring opportunities.  Maryland struck first as senior All-ACC forward Nicole Muracco scored her league-leading 26th goal of the season in the 16th minute.  Junior forward Katie O’Donnell—the first three-time Offensive Player of the Year in league history—was credited with the assist.

In the 25th minute, O’Donnell inserted a penalty corner and teamed with senior All-ACC midfielder Alexis Pappas to feed senior All-ACC defender Emma Thomas for the score as the Terps extended their lead to 2-0, a lead they took into halftime.

In the second half, Maryland took a 3-0 lead when senior midfielder/defender Ameliet Rischen and senior midfielder/defender Brianna Davies engineered a fast break in the 52nd minute.  Davies sent a cross-field pass to the center of the circle where Rischen sent a shot to the back of the cage for her fifth goal of the season.

Wake began to build a comeback just 1:30 later as senior All-ACC midfielder Melissa Martin streaked to the middle of the circle and netted her fifth goal of 2009 to cut the Terp lead to 3-1.  After nearly 14 minutes of back-and-forth battle, Wake Forest senior defender/midfielder Aileen Davis scored off a deflected corner shot—her fifth goal this season—in the 67th minute and cut the score to 3-2 in favor of Maryland.

With just over three minutes to play, Maryland staved off an aggressive Deacon attack to earn the win and advance to the Championship Game for the second season in a row, the fifth in the last six, and 20th overall.

The Terps held a slim 17-15 advantage in shots, while Wake controlled the penalty corner battle, 10-5.  In goal, Maryland senior Alicia Grater recorded six saves in 70 minutes of action.  Wake Forest freshman Kaitlyn Ruhf made five stops in 70 minutes between the pipes.

Maryland will make its second consecutive appearance in the Championship Game on Sunday, November 8 and will play the winner of the second semifinal game between second-seeded North Carolina and third-seeded Virginia.  The Championship Game will be televised live by Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports South, and on a delay basis by the New England Sports Network.

More information on ACC field hockey can be accessed by visiting theACC.com.  All 2009 ACC Field Hockey Championship information can be found on the official championship website, www.theacc.com/championships/09-fh-championship.html.