Well, it was senior night at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex Friday and a crowd of nearly 600 stopped in to send co-captains Janessa Pope and Megan Frazer and their six fellow seniors off in style as Maryland defeated Rutgers 3-1 in the final game of the 2012 regular season. Joining the co-captains on the field for the pre-game ceremonies were Colleen Gulick, Harriet Tibble, Kirstie Dennig, Danielle Kauffman, Lindsey Puckett, and Tara Zollinger. Honoring tradition, coach Missy Meharg opted to start all her seniors save for Gulick who was unavailable due to illness. The start was the first of the season for Dennig, Kauffman, Puckett, and Zollinger and the group went out in style defeating Rutgers 3-1. Heading into the post season, these seniors have a record of 79-10 with 2 ACC Championships, 2 NCAA Championships and a third appearance in the NCAA title game. In addition to the seniors, red shirt sophomore Brooke Cabrera got her second start in goal in place of the injured Natalie Hunter.
The Terps began the game aggressively with Dennig getting the first shot on goal barely two minutes in. Fellow senior Zollinger knocked off two more shots in the ninth minute but the Rutgers goalie was up to the task and able to save all three shots. The Terps earned back to back penalty corners in the twelfth minute but the Scarlet Knights defense was able to block shots by Sarah Sprink and Ali McEvoy respectively. After falling short on their third corner, Maryland was able to break through with Janessa Pope taking a nice cross from Kirstie Dennig and knocking it into the net with just over 10 minutes remaining in the half. The Terps kept up the pressure and Megan Frazer was able to score on an assist from freshman Sarah Sprink after their 4th corner of the half. The black clad Terps too the 2-0 lead into the locker room holding a 12-2 lead in shots and a 4-2 edge in penalty corners.
As the second half began, Maryland did not bring the same energy it brought in the first. Though they only manage two shots on goal, the visitors from NJ applied a much more pressure and had the Terps defense on its heels several times. Rutgers was able to break through scoring off a seeing eye penalty corner that manage to roll slowly past 3 MD defenders and Cabrera with about 14 minutes remaining in the game. But as she has been throughout much of her career, Megan Frazer proved to be the steadying influence the Terps needed blasting in her second goal of the night from the top of the circle with about a minute remaining to secure the 3-1 final. Maryland will take on Duke in the first round of the ACC Tournament in Chapel Hill Thursday afternoon at 3:30.
Meanwhile, over in the Pavilion at Comcast Maryland’s volleyball team notched its second consecutive win in an electrifying five setter against ACC opponent Georgia Tech gaining a measure of revenge for an earlier season loss in Atlanta. Tech led off serving in the first set and the teams split the first two points. This tight play would continue throughout the first half of that set. Though the Terps were never able to grab a lead Tech was unable to open any space never leading by more than two until a GT kill off a Sarah Harper serve followed by back to back service aces gave the visitors a 16-12 lead. The returned to its back and forth rhythm until a kill by Ashleigh Crutcher sparked a 4-0 run that gave the home team it first lead 21-20. Maryland had three set point opportunities serving at 24-23, 25-24 and 26-25 but Tech was able to stave off each of those chances. The Terps fought off 2 set points by Tech before having another chance at 29-28. Unfortunately for Maryland fans, GT was able to rally and close out the overtime affair with a run of three straight to take the set 31-29.
The second set began with the visiting team breaking Maryland’s serve but quickly took on the tenor of the first set with the teams trading points until the Terps put together a solid run. Trailing 5-4, freshman Mackenzie Dagostino set up junior Mary Cushman for a kill to break the Yellowjackets’ serve and even the score at five. Behind the serves of freshman Amy Dion, the Terps rattled off another three consecutive points to open a 8-5 lead in a run that included Dion’s first of four aces on the night. Continuing to put together small clusters of points, Maryland was twice able to open the lead out to six points at 15-9 and 16-10. Tech was able to pull no closer than 3 and the Terps closed out the set 25-20 on back to back kills by Ashleigh Crutcher.
Coming out of the break, Tech held serve to take a quick 2-0 lead. The Jackets managed to maintain that small edge until the Terps were able to even the score at 9 off a block from Kelsey Hrebenach who had earned her first start of the season. She then combined with another freshman, Emily Fraik on a second block and Maryland had its first lead of the set 10-9. Befitting the previous two sets, the third remained a tense affair with the good gals unable to open more than a two point spread. They were, however, able to prevent Tech from retaking the lead and closed out set number 3 on a kill by Mary Cushman off a set from Remy McBain.
After dropping the opening point of the fourth set, Maryland broke back immediately on Cushman’s kill followed by a string of three points including an ace by Hrebenach to move ahead 4-1. Tech was able to slowly pull back to tie the set at 6 apiece and again at 7 before going on a 4 point spurt to take a workable 11-7 margin. The Terps then rallied to tie the score at 14 and edge back into the lead behind Crutcher’s kill off the set from Dagostino. In another of the mini runs that characterized this set, GT then put together 4 straight points to take an 18-15 lead. The Terps briefly broke Tech’s momentum and pulled within one at 18-17 but the visitors were able to eventually close out the set 25-21 forcing an always tense and deciding fifth set.
The ultimate set began in an appropriately taut manner. Maryland was able to edge out to small leads of 6-4 and 7-5. A kill by Remy McBain at 7-6 sparked a decisive 6-0 run that put the Terps ahead 13-6. The Jackets got a kill to slow the Maryland momentum but the Terps were able to fittingly close out the match on kills by Cushman and Crutcher.
Making her second start at libero, freshman Amy Dion led the Terps with 24 digs. Fellow freshman Mackenzie Dagostino shared the setting duties with senior Remy McBain with Dagostino credited for 25 assists and McBain a team high 29. Leading Maryland in kills were sophomores Adreene Elliott with 12 and Ashleigh Crutcher with 20 on an outstanding .472 hitting percentage. Junior Mary Cushman, playing in her third match after returning from an injury registered a double double with 20 kills of her own and adding 10 digs as well. The Terps have another home game on Sunday taking on the Clemson Tigers at 1 pm at the Pavilion.