The ACC announced its All-Conference field hockey teams Wednesday and the Terps placed six players on the twenty-three person squad - four on the first team and two on the second team. Somewhat unsurprisingly, preseason honorees Maxine Fluharty, Ali McEvoy, and Jill Witmer each received a post-season honor as well. Senior goalkeeper Natalie Hunter joined them on the first team. Sophomore tri-captain Sarah Sprink and junior midfielder Katie Gerzabek earned second team honors.
With her award, Witmer becomes one of only eleven players in ACC history to be named to the All-Conference team in all four years of her career. As one of only two players in the ACC averaging over two points per game, Witmer is second in the league in points per to Virginia's Elly Buckley - sister of former Terrapin standout Jemma - but the Terrapin senior from Lancaster had a remarkably efficient season putting over seventy five percent of her shots on goal and scoring on nearly thirty-seven percent. Witmer, who missed three games while playing for the U.S. National Team, has fifteen goals and seven assists in sixteen games. She is currently fifth on Maryland's all-time goal scoring list with 63.
Fluharty, has developed into one of Maryland's most reliable players with a knack for making big plays and scoring big goals as she did against Syracuse earlier this season. The junior midfielder from Millsboro, Delaware has found the back of the cage more than any other Terp except Witmer with eleven goals and she has also set up her teammates for scores on seven different occasions. However, as the principal flyer defending penalty corners, Fluharty's greatest value to the team is one that cannot be statistically delineated. This was never more apparent than in the Terps' come from behind win against Syracuse when she made two stops on late Orange penalty corners after Coach Meharg had pulled goalkeeper Natalie Hunter in favor of an extra attacking player.
After moving in our tour of All-ACC performers from forward to midfield, the next logical stop will be defense and the player in that spot would be, of course, Ali McEvoy. This is the Gilbertsville, PA senior's second appearance on the All-Conference team having also made the team as a sophomore in 2011. In addition to anchoring a defense with the second fewest goals allowed per game in the conference, McEvoy also brings two additional factors when she's on the field for the Terps. First, McEvoy is one of Maryland's principal options on penalty corners and her versatility has contributed to her eleven goals and seven assists. The second is her remarkable aerial passing ability. This type of pass can not only allow the Terps to quickly change field position but frequently opens up space for the Terrapins' dynamic attack and the ACC probably has no player more skilled at making this pass than McEvoy.
Well, we can go no further down the field as we come to Maryland's last line of defense, goalkeeper Natalie Hunter who makes her first appearance as an All-ACC performer. The senior from Seaville, NJ, who was named to the U.S. National Team in June, leads the ACC in goals against average at 1.04 per game and has saved a remarkable league leading eighty-one percent of the shots she's faced. She has started seventeen of Maryland's nineteen games this season and had a career high ten saves in the Terps' win at Old Dominion the first of her three complete game shutouts for this season. Hunter has also appeared in two other Terrapin shutouts in 2013.
Defender Sarah Sprink earned All-Conference honors for the first time as a Terp. The sophomore from Neuss, Germany holds down the center of Maryland's defense and is also an important weapon on penalty corners. Working our way back to the midfield, Sprink is joined on the second team by junior Katie Gerzabek. The Springfield, PA native somehow always finds her way into the middle of the action and is a stalwart performer on both sides of the ball.
The Terps next see action in the semi-finals of the ACC Tournament Friday at Boston College where they will face the winner of the quarter final match between Duke and Virginia. (Update: The Terps will play Duke.)