Maryland field hockey lost its second consecutive national championship game on Sunday, as the No. 2-seed Terrapins fell 2-0 to undefeated top seed North Carolina in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Tar Heels dominated early and often, as they built a 2-0 lead in the first half. A Maryland push in the second half just wasn’t able to break through the North Carolina defense. The Terrapins finished the game leading in shots and shots on goal, but the Tar Heels did their damage early.
North Carolina led Maryland 5-0 in shots through the first 35 minutes, including four of which that were on goal. Sarah Holliday notched two saves, but this Tar Heels attack was just too much to handle.
The scoring started in the 21st minute, when Megan DuVernois capitalized on a three-on-two breakaway for North Carolina. As the half wound down, Bibi Donraadt picked up a green card and was forced to sit for two minutes. Less than a minute later, Erin Matson was able to put home her 20th goal of the season, giving the Tar Heels a 2-0 lead.
Maryland came out early in the second half and tried to put pressure on the Tar Heels. In the first 10 minutes, the Terrapins got three shots off and one of which that was on target. By the time the 50th minute hit, Maryland had pulled even with North Carolina in shots (6) and shots on goal (4), but the Tar Heels still held a 2-0 lead.
The Terrapins pulled Holliday after giving up a penalty stroke, and Noelle Frost came in to keep the score at 2-0. Holliday returned after Frost’s save, but was then pulled with just under five minutes to go for an extra attacker, but Maryland could not take advantage.
The second half stats really favored Maryland, but the 2-0 lead was ultimately insurmountable. Maryland led 9-8 in shots, 6-5 in shots on goal and 6-2 in penalty corner chances once time ran out.
Three things to know
- The first half was all North Carolina. Despite a little possession for Maryland on the offensive end, the first 35 minutes were all Tar Heels. Five shots, four of which were on target, resulted in two goals and two saves. It’s hard to come back in field hockey, and when you play a stout team like North Carolina, it’s even more difficult.
- Maryland made a push, but couldn’t capitalize. In the first chunk of the second half, the Terrapins actually took control of the momentum. In the first 23 minutes of the second half, Maryland racked up eight shots, six of which were on target, but could not score a goal. The Terrapins also held a 5-1 difference in penalty corner, but were unable to put one home.
- It’s a disappointing end to a fantastic season. The ultimate goal for this team was a national championship, but even when adversity and tough games hit, the team never gave up and kept pushing. Maryland finished 22-3, sweeping the Big Ten titles before making its NCAA Tournament run. The Terrapins will lose seniors Linnea Gonzales, Sarah Holliday and more, but with players like Bibi Donraadt, Bodil Keus, Hannah Bond and Nike Lorenz returning, next season looks bright and another run to the national championship will be expected.