Nov. 20, 2010

 

By Jeff Seidel
Special to NCAA.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
Getting a chance to win a national championship is special, but the opportunity to do that on your home field means even more.

Thats why No. 1 Maryland is so fired up heading into Sundays Division I womens field hockey national title game against No. 2 North Carolina.

The game, scheduled for noon, will be played at Marylands Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex and is a rematch of last years championship game where the Tar Heels pulled out a 3-2 victory.

Katie ODonnell is going to be one of the key players for Maryland, as shes been throughout her career. She needs one goal to break the 100-goal barrier and three to set the ACC record for career goals—the senior already has the conference mark for points and assists and is looking forward to her final home game being for the national crown.

This is one of the best facilities you can find in NCAA hockey and just to end up here, hopefully holding up that big trophy at the end with all of your fans behind you, I dont think there is anything better than that,” ODonnell said.

The Terrapins have been tough to beat at home, posting a 94-9 career record at the complex.

In addition, theyre 17-1 in NCAA Tournament games played at Maryland.

During Fridays 3-1 semifinal victory over Ohio State, the complex was decidedly pro Maryland. And there is no question that the Terrapins are looking forward to more of the same on Sunday.

Being here is special,” said Marylands Alicia Morawski. Having everyone around us, our family and friends, giving them a chance to be out there is going to be a phenomenal feeling.”

If the crowd duplicates the aura that was prevalent on Friday, it could give the Terps some help. Maryland (22-1) comes into the championship game with two victories over North Carolina (22-2) already this season.

Those were the only two losses North Carolina suffered all year - and it was North Carolina that scored with 11 seconds to play to pull out the championship in 2009.

The teams have met four times in the national title game, with each team winning twice.

The Tar Heels rallied for a 2-0 deficit to beat Virginia, 3-2, in overtime in the semifinals and get to the championship.

We are very, very excited to get to advance to the final game,” said North Carolina coach Karen Shelton. I have always felt like once you get to the Final Four, its a time to celebrate and celebrate the season and play a little freer because everyone who gets here has had a great season.”