After beating Massachusetts in a dramatic 2-1 shootout win Saturday, No. 2 Maryland field hockey couldn’t punch its ticket to the Final Four in this year’s NCAA Tournament. The Terps fell to No. 4 North Carolina, 3-0, to end their season in the quarterfinals on Sunday.
A big reason for the Tar Heels’ success was their success on penalty corners. They went 2-for-4 in the game, with both goals coming from Ashley Hoffman.
Maryland seemed to have control early in the first half, pressuring the Tar Heels into their own zone. The Terps has several great chances in the UNC circle, but were unable to score.
It wasn't until the 25th minute when noise was made on either side. The Tar Heels won a penalty corner, and Hoffman slotted the ball just out of the reach of Sarah Holliday in the bottom left corner of the net.
The Terps went into halftime only down one, but the Tar Heels broke the game open in the second half.
Hoffman scored her second goal of the game in the same fashion in which she scored her first: off a penalty corner into the bottom left corner of the net.
Terps goalie Sarah Holliday was pulled for Sarah Bates in the 41st minute, but the Tar Heels were still able to grab one more goal while Maryland stayed scoreless.
Maryland showed signs of life in the 48th minute, earning three straight penalty corners, but the Tar Heels stopped and cleared each attempt.
With close to seven minutes left in the game, head coach Missy Meharg pulled Bates for an extra attacking player, but Maryland still couldn’t score.
This strategy worked in the Terps’ favor last game as they equalized against UMass before the end of regulation, but it didn’t work here. A perfectly placed through ball by the Tar Heels left Lauren Moyer alone to score an open-net goal, hammering the nail on the coffin of Maryland’s 2016 season.
As Maryland’s season comes to a close, the Terps will say goodbye to five very important seniors who all played a crucial role in the the team’s success this season. Courtney Deena, Grace Balsdon, Welma Luus, Emma Rissinger, and Delaney Leathers have all made their marks at Maryland and will definitely be missed by the Terps next season.
The Terps will have many months to prepare to defend their Big Ten regular season championship and make another run at the Big Ten and NCAA Championships next year.
Three things to know
- Penalty corner success. The main reason for the Tar Heels’ victory today was their success off the penalty corner. UNC went 2-for-4 on corners, which was more than enough to propel them over the Terps and send them to the Final Four.
- Inability to create chances. Another big reason for North Carolina’s victory was their rock-solid defense. The Terps were unable to mount any formidable attacks in the game. Even when they had the advantage from the penalty corners, the Tar Heel defense came up big and allowed nothing to get past their goalie.
- Optimism for next season. While this season did not end the way that Maryland wanted it to, they have no reason to hang their heads. The team finished as a top-5 team with wins over great opponents. Not only that, but the Terps have a great recruiting class coming in. So while they may be losing great talent, they are filling that void up immediately.