With her teams having won nearly eighty percent of the games where she has been head coach and with nine ACC titles and seven NCAA championships on her resume, Coach Missy Meharg has racked up any number of memorable wins. As she heads into her twenty sixth year at the helm of Maryland's field hockey program, we're going to countdown her top five beginning in 1999 when she led the Terrapins to their third national championship and second under her guidance.
Maryland entered the tournament as the top seed and cruised through the first round drubbing Lafayette by a final of 6-0. In the second round, the Terps took on the defending national champion Old Dominion Monarchs - the only team to have beaten Maryland that season. The Terps avenged the defeat when it counted most winning 3-2 in overtime to move on to the Final Four where they faced off against the Iowa Hawkeyes. The national semi-final required double overtime but Maryland prevailed eking out a 2-1 victory. Only another Big Ten foe, the University of Michigan stood in the way of Meharg's second national title.
Junior Kelli Smith got Maryland on the board first scoring on a breakaway with 10:06 remaining in the first half. In her post game comments, Smith said she'd dreamed of scoring on a breakaway "for a long time." The Terps added to their lead when Carissa Messimer deflected a pass on a free hit by current Associate Head Coach Dina Rizzo from just outside the circle that found the back of the goal as time expired in the first half.
The Wolverines wouldn't go down without a fight, though, scoring just 1:04 into the second half to cut the lead to a precarious 2-1. But the Terrapins had the nations's top ranked defense and a late save by goalie Ashley Hohnstine, who was joined on the All-Tournament teal by teammates, Smith, Carla Tagliente, and Rachel Hiskins, preserved their twenty second consecutive win and claim the national title.
After the victory, Meharg said "I am truly honored to coach this team. In terms of skill and talent this is the best team I have ever coached." To this day, the team continues to hold a special place in the memory of their highly honored coach and their twenty four wins still stands as the school's single season record. Next up, a much more contemporary win.