Field hockey falls to ODU, women's soccer comes up short at Florida State and volleyball ends a four game skid

Your Sunday sports report: Field hockey couldn't pull another rabbit out of their hats. Women's soccer falls short in a valiant effort in Tallahassee. Volleyball sweeps Boston College.

It was a busy flip the script Sunday on my beat. In College Park, Maryland's field hockey team put their unbeaten season on the line against the fifteenth ranked Old Dominion Monarchs, in the Comcast Pavilion, the volleyball team looked to end a four match skid against the somewhat hapless Boston College Eagles, and in Tallahassee the women's soccer team faced a daunting task taking on the undefeated and third ranked Florida State Seminoles. Only one team ended the day with a victory and in a surprise it wasn't field hockey. The Terps dreams of a perfect season ended with a 3-2 loss to the Monarchs. The soccer team put up a valiant effort but fell 2-1 at FSU. This week it's volleyball that holds the winner's slot at the end of my recaps for their 3-0 sweep of the Eagles.

I started the day at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex where the Monarchs, riding a seven game winning streak came out of the gate with more intensity than the Terps and drew a penalty corner on their opening possession less than a minute in. As she had at the close of the game Friday night, Maxine Fluharty came out of the cage as the flyer and blocked ODU's initial shot. However, Maryland failed to clear and the Monarchs drove home the rebound for a very early 1-0 lead. Old Dominion controlled the early play keeping Maryland contained in the midfield. Eventually, the Terps pushed forward and Sarah Sprink got off a shot that ODU's goalkeeper Megan Hept saved but that created Maryland's first penalty corner but Katie Gerzabek's drag flick went wide. The Terps evened the score in the sixteenth minute when Shelby Sydnor knocked in the rebound off Alyssa Parker's shot. Maryland had an excellent chance to take a lead into halftime when the Monarchs' Christy Longacre drew a yellow card with fourteen minutes to play giving Maryland a five minute player advantage. Just over three minutes later, Gerzabek drove into the circle. She had her shot blocked but drew a penalty corner in the process. Once again, the Terps failed to convert the set play opportunity when Hept made diving saves on both Sprink's initial shot and follow-up. The Terrapins had one last opportunity with just over a minute to play Parker just failed to reach Anna Dessoye's shot that went wide of the left post.

In the second half, Maryland drew the early penalty corner but Ali McEvoy's shot toward the far post went well wide. After a failed ODU corner, Maryland continued to ramp up the pressure as Jill Witmer worked herself free in the circle but Hept deflected the high shot over the cage. Witmer used her speed to draw another penalty corner in the forty-fifth minute but Hept again was twice up to the task first blocking McEvoy's attempt and then Witmer's shot on the rebound. Old Dominion took a 2-1 lead on a spectacular diving shot by the appropriately named Danielle Clutter who worked through the clutter in front of Maryland's cage to score in the fifty-first minute. Less than a minute later, a Terrapin misplay in the midfield led to a Monarchs corner. Huter made the initial save but again, a failed clear allowed a follow up goal. With 6:43 to play, ODU drew another yellow card and for the second consecutive game just twenty-six seconds later, coach Missy Meharg elected to pull Natalie Hunter out of goal. The move paid an immediate dividend as less than a minute later Gerzabek found Fluharty at the right side of the circle and the junior midfielder drover a blast past Hept. However, that was all the Terps could muster and the comeback effort fell short losing for the first time in 2013. Maryland is off until Friday night when they host the sixth ranked Virginia Cavaliers.

My dedication to both my regular reader runs so deep that in order to provide as full a recap as possible, I watched the ESPN3 replay of the women's soccer game at Florida State. I should note here that apparently, Maryland's leading scorer, senior forward Hayley Brock did not make the trip to Florida with the Terps making their win at Miami all the more impressive and their loss on Sunday all the more understandable.

After a few minutes of feeling each other out, the Terps found themselves facing an early 1-0 deficit. Goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands had her attempted clear headed back into the Maryland zone from beyond midfield. FSU played the ball wide and on the cross, Florida State forward Berglind Thorvaldsdottir, deked one Terrapin defender and had wide open space between to more attempting to close and put a shot inside the right post from sixteen yards. Maryland's defense regrouped and bolstered by strong play from Beanlands held the Seminoles in check for the remainder of the half. Beanlands was particularly strong stepping in and intercepting Florida State's crossing attempts. On the offensive side, however, Maryland couldn't solve FSU's 4-2-3-1 structure and the Terps managed only a single shot from Riley Barger that went well wide. The half ended with the Seminoles holding a 1-0 lead.

After surviving some early Florida State chances to open the second half, Maryland had a tremendous chance to knot the game in the fifty-third minute. Megan Gibbons played a long through ball to Kristen Schmidbauer who took control at the upper right corner of the eighteen. She played a centering pass to Alex Doody who managed to split two Seminole defenders. Perhaps rushing her shot just a bit, Doody Doody drove a low grounder from fifteen yards allowing FSU keeper Kelsey Wys to make a fairly routine save. The home squad opened a two goal margin when Maryland failed to completely clear a corner kick. After a close call on a header attempt, Barger drove the ball out of the box but straight to a Florida State player about 40 yards out. The Seminoles played the ball wide left and the cross was one Beanlands couldn't intercept and it ended in the back of the net. Maryland had a chance to score on a free kick from about 21 yards in the seventy-fifth minute but while Schmidbauer got her shot by the wall, is went just wide of the left post. The Terrapins' lone score came in rather spectacular fashion off the foot of Ashley Spivey with 2:08 to play. Defender Erika Nelson played a high ball into the box that bounced around as Spivey and her defender jostled for position. Spivey managed to get herself to the outside shoulder and rather acrobatically curl her leg in front as the ball bounced high and flick it into the upper left corner of the goal surprising everyone on the field including herself. The Terps had one final chance on a corner kick taken by Megan Gibbons with just over a minute to play but the initial header was cleared back out to Gibbons. This time it was Wys who intercepted the cross and sealed the game for Florida State. Maryland completes their three game road trip taking on Syracuse Thursday night before returning home to close out the ACC regular season when they host Boston College and Pitt.

So, of course after covering field hockey, I only saw the third set of Maryland's sweep of Boston College. The Eagles came into the Comcast Pavilion winless in ACC play and left in the same state. "I'm glad to see how we responded today," coach Tim Horsman said after the match referring to Friday night's potentially disheartening loss to Syracuse. The set I saw looked fairly routine. But let me take a step back in time and see what I can deduce about the first two sets.

BC ran out to early leads of 4-2 and 8-6 but the Terps got a side out on a block by Adreene Elliott and Kelsey Hrebenach. Back to back aces by Hrebenach and an attack error by the Eagles gave Maryland their first lead of the set at 10-8. The middle of the set was even with Boston College able to recapture a 17-15 lead. The Terps rallied back scoring six of the next nine to open up a 21-18 edge - the largest margin for either team to that point in the set. Maryland eventually closed out the set by a 25-21 final.

The first six points of the second set went the same way as the first with BC taking a 4-2 lead. A Terrapin sideout on a kill by Mary Cushman pulled the Terps within one at 7-6 and three straight points behind the serve of Amy Dion gave Maryalnd a lead that, despite a tie a ten all, they never surrendered. After an Eagles ball handling error gave the Terps a 16-13 lead and a sideout, strong serving by Hrebenach extended the margin to five. Boston College closed to within one at 19-18 but a sideout kill by Mary Cushman followed by back to back kills by Ashleigh Crutcher and another by Ashlyn MacGregor behind the serving of Dani Bozzini gave the Terps a fairly secure 23-19 advantage. Maryland held on to that edge and closed out the second set by the same 25-21 score as the first on a block by Crutcher and Hrebenach.

As for that third set, well as I wrote above, it was routine. A second review of my notes reveals no starred plays or extended descriptions beyond the emphatic kill by Elliott off a quick set from freshman Whitney Craigo who was playing in only her second match of the season stepping up for the injured Julia Anderson. From my observation, Craigo looked considerably more comfortable today than she did on Friday. The set opened with Maryland taking an early lead that they maintained for most of the set. Boston College showed some life with a brief rally in the middle of the set to move from an 11-9 deficit to a 14-13 lead. However, Maryland bounced right back with four straight to recapture a lead they never surrendered. The Eagles came no closer than two and the Terps closed them out by a 25-20 final.

Mary Cushman's team leading thirteen kills moved her past Rachel Wagner into sixth place on the all-time Maryland list. The senior from Rochester needs just five kills to reach the top five. Adreene Elliott joined Cushman with double digit kills with eleven. The junior middle blocker had an outstanding .429 hitting percentage. Sarah Harper and Emily Fraik led the team in digs with 11 each. Harper stands fourth all time for the Terps and needs just 59 to pass Beth Gilming to move into third place on that list. Amy Dion led the Terps with 19 assists splitting setter duties with Craigo who added sixteen of her own. The Terps take to the road for crucial matches at North Carolina and NC State this coming weekend before returning home for a rare midweek match against ACC newcomer Pittsburgh onWednesday October 30.

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