LOUISVILE, Ky. (AP) — Maryland rallied from a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 in overtime Sunday against No. 1 North Carolina and claimed its eighth NCAA Division I field hockey title.
Sophomore Jill Witmer scored the game-winning goal for No. 4 Maryland at the 10:09 mark in rainy conditions at Trager Stadium. The Terrapins (19-4) defeated the Tar Heels (23-2) for the second straight year in the title game. Maryland topped North Carolina 3-2 in double overtime in last year’s title game.
Down 2-0, Maryland orchestrated a late rally, scoring two goals in the last four minutes of regulation. Maryland freshman Katie Gerzabek scored a goal off an assist from junior Harriet Tibble to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 3:46 left in the game.
Senior Jemma Buckley tied it 2-2 with a penalty corner with no time left on the clock.
“We had the attitude of never give up,” Buckley said. “With no time on the clock, we knew it was our last chance.”
Senior Elizabeth Stephens scored both goals for the Tar Heels.
Stephens took a cross from junior Kelsey Kolojejchick and slid the ball past Maryland goalkeeper Melissa Vassalotti for a 1-0 lead with 26:57 left in the first half.
The duo struck again with 7:57 left in the second half.
Kolojejchick passed from the left side to Stephens, who slammed a shot past a lone defender into the net.
This was the third straight meeting between Maryland and North Carolina in the title game. Since 2005, one of the two teams has won the national title.
Vassalotti had eight saves for Maryland — tying a career-high.
“Scoring with no time on clock was, I think, the biggest disappointment for us,” North Carolina coach Karen Shelton said. “That is a momentum shift. The team usually that ties the game tends to go into it with confidence.”
North Carolina dominated the first half, taking nine shots on goal to one for Maryland. Overall, the Tar Heels outshot the Terrapins 13-6.
“They were so far above us in the first half, the way they started the ball on restarts to their team defense,” Maryland coach Missy Meharg said. “At halftime we just spoke about competing and taking our restarts back and playing with intangibles.”
Old Dominion was the last team to rally from a two-goal deficit to earn an NCAA title, winning 3-2 in overtime against Connecticut in 1982.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)