Okay. It’s late. I’m cranky. And a little irked that no one’s covered the Terps 5th ACC soccer championship that they won earlier today in front of a hefty crowd of 9,341 at the Montgomery SoccerPlex in Germantown. I have a lot to write tonight and I guess I’ll have to start with this one since it is, after all a championship.
After the first half of Friday night’s semi-final against Clemson, Coach Sasho Cirovski said that he didn’t recognize his team. Well, that was certainly not the case today as the Terps took it to the Tar Heels early and often in a dominating first half that was played largely in Carolina’s defensive third. Maryland seemed to win nearly every one on one battle for the ball and quickly pressured the Heels after any Terp turnover. The only place the Terrapins failed to dominate was on the scoreboard with their only goal coming off a penalty corner in the 11th minute. In a play typical of the half, freshman defender Dakota Edwards out muscled the Carolina defense to control Dan Metzger’s corner and drill a shot into the lower left corner of the goal. This was the first goal scored against UNC since Schillo Tshuma’s game winner in overtime on October 19th.
The first twenty minutes of the second half were more of the same with Maryland dominant and aggressive. The approach paid off when Tshuma knocked in a goal from an absurd angle off a throw in from Mikey Ambrose in the 62nd minute. UNC began to play with a bit more edge and desperation in their game and were eventually able to cut the Terps lead in half with a goal in the 86th minute. This would prove to be too little to late as Sasho, the team and the Crew were able to celebrate a third ACC Championship in five years. For the game,Maryland out shot Carolina 11-4. Goalie Keith Cardona was called upon to make only a single save. Next up for Maryland: the NCAA tournament. The Terps earned the number 2 overall seed in the NCAA:
Later on Sunday the Terps field hockey team took to a pitch of a different kind to face off against the third seeded and host UConn Huskies. The difference in the caliber of opponent was apparent from the start. Unlike Saturday’s game against Lafayette, it was the home team that dominated the early play controlling the tempo and showing excellent defensive cohesion while pressing forward on offense. UConn got off two shots in the 7th minute but the Terrapin defense held blocking both before they reached goalie Natalie Hunter. The home team continued to pressure the Terps defense and drew a penalty corner in the 10th minute. They scored on a shot from the top of the circle and Maryland was looking at an early 1-0 deficit. The Huskies had two more shots and another penalty corner before the Terps managed their first shot. Fortunately for Maryland fans it was a good one as Jill Witmer sent a pass into the circle from the right baseline that was popped into the goal by freshman Alyssa Parker tying the score in the 23rd minute. The game turned quite physical in the last 8 minutes or so with each side drawing a 2 minute green card penalty. The Terps drew their only penalty corner of the half with just under three minutes remaining but the Connecticut goalie was able to stop Megan Frazer’s shot and the teams went into halftime tied at one.
Early in the second half, Maryland was more active and pressed the attack drawing another corner in the 40th minute but Sarah Sprink’s show was wide. The physical play continued and Megan Frazer drew a green card in the 42nd minute. The Terps were able to successfully kill of the foul surviving a UConn corner that went wide. Maryland had another opportunity on a corner in the 58th minute but Sprink’s shot was blocked. Shortly thereafter, senior defender Harriet Tibble drew Maryland’s third yellow card of the match but the Terrapins were again able to successfully kill the penalty. The Huskies had two more chances on penalty corners of their own but Natalie Hunter saved the first and the second went wide. In the 68th minute Connecticut drew its second yellow card of the game and just 12 seconds into the penalty, Megan Frazer, who has had a knack for scoring big goals in her career at Maryland, dribbled into the circle and blasted a high shot past the UConn keeper giving the Terps a 2+-1 lead that would stand up and move Maryland to its fifth consecutive Final Four. Maryland will be one of two unseeded teams playing in Norfolk on Friday. Syracuse knocked off fourth seeded Penn State 5-2 and will face top seed UNC. The Terps will take on second seeded Princeton who beat UVA by the same score.
The Maryland women’s basketball team returned to the hardwood to tackle Loyola in their first road test of the young season. The undersized Greyhounds, playing a very physical game coupled with some early success from behind the arc, were able to stay with the Terps early taking an 11-9 lead on a three pointer coming out of the first media time out. Tianna Hawkins, who was once again the Terps leader, countered with a traditional three point play giving Maryland a lead they would never relinquish though Loyola would mange to tie the score at 14 on another three point shot. With just over 7 minutes remaining in the half, a layup drew the Greyhounds within three at 21-18. This sparked a 14-0 run by the Terps and the rout was on. Maryland did have a scary moment when junior guard Lauren Mincy limped off the court favoring a knee. Going into the half, the Terps led 41-25.
Mincy started the second half for the Terrapins though her playing time was limited to the first 8 minutes or so. Freshman Chloe Pavlech proved an adequate substitute and gained some valuable game experience as the Terrapins continued to pull away from the Greyhounds building the lead to 24 but the second media time out and 36 by the under eight time out. Maryland cruised to an 88-45 win. The Terps got solid minutes from their freshman with Pavelch adding 3 assists to her six points and four rebounds in 20 minutes of playing time. Her classmates Tierney Pfirman and Malina Howard would chip in with 13 and six points respectively. But the star of the night was Tianna Hawkins. T-Hawk had a career high 33 points on 13 of 16 shooting and added thirteen rebounds for her second consecutive double-double and 26th of her career. Overall, the Terps out rebounded Loyola by a 55-18 margin. And continuing another early trend of sharing the ball well, Maryland had 20 assists on 30 baskets. Maryland will travel to Philadelphia on Saturday to take on St. Joeseph’s.
T-Hawk named ACC POTW: http://www.umterps.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/111212aaa.html