Nov. 7, 2010

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The top-seeded Maryland (19-1, 5-0) field hockey team defeated second-seeded North Carolina (19-2, 4-1) 5-2 Sunday afternoon to claim its third straight Atlantic Coast Conference championship and ninth overall. Junior Jemma Buckley notched her first career hat trick for the win.

"Every player on Maryland's team played like a champion," head coach Missy Meharg said. "Coming off of a frustrating and hugely intense, adverse battle Friday night, these players did exactly as the coaching staff asked. We're just so excited to take home this championship from a great North Carolina team."

Four-time ACC Offensive Player of the Year Katie O'Donnell was named Tournament MVP, as she scored the Terps' fourth goal and assisted on three others. Buckley, freshman Jill Witmer and junior Lauren Barr were all named to the All-Tournament team.

O'Donnell and Buckley helped the Terrapins jump out to an early lead. Three minutes in, O'Donnell sent a hard shot into the middle and Buckley deflected it in for the 1-0 lead. North Carolina's Jaclyn Radvany tied it up five minutes later off of a pass from the side from Kelsey Kolojejchick.

Off of a penalty corner, Buckley again gave the Terps the lead 11 minutes in. She scored off of her own rebounded shot for the 2-1 lead. With 10 minutes remaining in the half, the Tar Heels' Caitlin Van Sickle scored off of a corner setup.

ACC Freshman of the Year Witmer gave Maryland the 3-2 lead going into the break as O'Donnell again sent a shot in to the middle in front of the goal. Witmer tipped it in for the score.

Ten minutes into the second half, Witmer found O'Donnell as the Tar Heel's net was empty. After a timeout with just over eight minutes remaining, the Tar Heels pulled goalkeeper Jackie Kintzer in order to have an extra field player. Buckley scored the final goal off of a corner setup from O'Donnell and All-ACC Team member Harriet Tibble with just under three minutes remaining in the game.

Redshirt junior goalkeeper Melissa Vassalotti had four saves in the day, while Kintzer had one. Maryland outshot North Carolina 12-11, but the Tar Heels held the penalty corner advantage 7-5.

The Terrapins will begin NCAA Tournament play next weekend. They will find out their game time, location and opponent Tuesday evening. Log on to to follow the Terps.