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Tar Heels outplay and knock off Terps gaining 3-1 win

The Maryland Terrapins and North Carolina Tar Heels faced off at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park and Maryalnd's erstwhile ACC foe was the far sharper team as they came away with a 3-1 win.

In the only regular season match up between the Maryland field hockey team and and ACC foe, the second ranked North Carolina Tar Heels made the trip to College Park face the top ranked Terrapins. From a standpoint of competition, the game lived up to the hype but as is often case in early season games the defenses were far ahead of the offenses.The Terps lost for only the fifteenth time in 143 contests at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex falling x-x to the second ranked Tar Heels.

The first half

The Terps opened with the game's first possession pressing quickly forward with an aerial pass that went out of bounds but Maryland quickly regained possession and worked the ball into the scoring circle. Maxine Fluharty got off the contest's first shot with only 40 seconds gone but the senior pushed the ball wide right.

The Tar Heels needed a few minutes to go on the attack but when they did, they used a very controlled and structured offense to maintain possession for several minutes in the offensive zone. Their patience paid off resulting in the first penalty corner in the fifth minute. The tar Heels ran a very basic play with Emily Wold inserting the pass to Loren Shealy. Shealy made the stop and played the ball to Charlotte Craddock who drove the shot into the lower right corner for a 1-0 Carolina lead.

The teams played well shaped defense for the next ten minutes or so and again it was the visitors who developed a rather dangerous threat. A centering pass by Craddock found open space and time in the middle of the circle but Maryland goalie Brooke Cabrera kicked it away. A turnover by Maryland led to a fast break opportunity for the Tar Heels. Gab Major was nearly the beneficiary of a pass from Craddock. Cabrera came out and mad a big body save to keep the Terps within one.

Though the Terps tried to rally, Carolina's defense collapsed effectively around every Maryland penetration to contain the Maryland attack. With six minutes to play in the half, the Terrapins had managed only three shots and though Tar Heels' goalie Shannon Johnson was credited with two saves neither particularly challenged the sophomore. Maryland had a chance with just over a minute to play in the half. Maxine Fluharty smashed a ball into the circle that freshman Moira Putsch redirected wide of the goal. The half ended with Carolina holding the 1-0 lead off the game's only penalty corner.

Second half action

The first four minutes of the second half saw frenetic end to end action but much as they had in the first half neither team was able to pass effectively and neither mounted a particularly effective threat. In the forty-fourth minute, Maryland finally developed a coordinated attack. Anna Dessoye worked her way into the circle and drove a hard backhanded shot wide of the cage.

Following an extended run of play in the midfield, the Tar Heels picked up the game's second penalty corner in the forty-ninth minute. Maryland blocked the shot but failed to clear and UNC picked up a second corner backing it up with another.  The Terps defense came up with the save once again but the Tar Heels continued the pressure.

A mishit pass by Fluharty deep in the the Maryland defensive zone turned the ball over. Samantha Travers launched a high shot and Cabrera made a glove save. However, the Terps defense didn't clear the ball and Shealy was able to capitalize knocking home her own rebound and giving the visitors a 2-0 lead with 19:08 to play.

Maryland made a great rush after a Carolina turnover in the midfield. Alyssa Parker took a pass and lifted it past the Tar Heels defender. The junior drove the ball deep into the circle and passed to Putsch but the freshman couldn't redirect it on goal and the ball went harmlessly wide.

North Carolina's Emma Bozek picked up a green card with 8:55 to play giving the Terps a two minute player advantage. The closest Maryland came to using the player advantage came when Putsch drove along the right baseline but Johnson blocked her centering attempt.

Carolina came back and drew two more penalty corners in the sixty-seventh minute. They capitalized on the second when Julia Young, playing by the right post, took the rebound off Craddock's miss to give UNC a 3-0 lead. Maryland finally picked up their first penalty corner of the contest with 2:05 to play. With Putsch inserting, Maryland ran a crisp play. Katie Gerzabek made the stop and tipped a little pass to Dessoye. While Fluharty faked a shot, Steffi Schneid put her shot past Johnson but it was far too little and far too late as the Tar Heels picked up the 3-1 win.