KENT, Ohio - Maureen Tasch made 11 saves as Michigan defeated the Maryland Terrapins, 2-0, yesterday to win its first NCAA Division I field hockey championship, ending the East Coast's domination and earning the Wolverines their first national title in any women's sport.
The Terrapins (20-4) outshot unseeded Michigan 10-1 in the final 35 minutes, but Tasch, who posted her eighth shutout of the season, turned away shot after shot with spectacular saves.
"I thought at this level so late in the season I was done with those [shutouts]," Tasch said. "But we were relentless back there. I just feel like we've been in a zone for the past two weeks."
Michigan (18-5) joins Iowa as the only Midwest team to win the national championship. This was also the first time since 1996 that the title game was a shutout.
"They are a very formidable team with tremendous players, but I'm proud of our team," said Terps coach Missy Meharg, whose team was going for its second national crown in three years. "They were very resilient and had very good sticks on their back side. And I think their goalie had an outstanding day. I'm not surprised they were here."
Maryland was blanked for only the second time this season, mostly because it was unable to capitalize on a Michigan yellow card that had the Wolverines a player short for nearly six minutes.
The Terps had their chances, leading the Wolverines in shots 20-6 and corners 10-4, but couldn't finish. The penalty corners were a major missed opportunity for Maryland, as both of the Wolverines' goals were scored on corners.
The first half was mostly a struggle for possession and was scoreless until Michigan earned a penalty corner with 2 minutes, 13 seconds to go before the break.
Wolverines defender Kristi Gannon passed the ball to freshman Adrienne Hortillosa, who was able to get an open shot to the right side of the goal. She fired the ball into the left side of the cage to beat Maryland senior goalie Ashley Hohnstine for what proved to be the game-winner.
Early in the second half, Maryland appeared to gain momentum. That was quickly stopped when Michigan earned another penalty corner. Gannon was there once again but passed to forward-midfielder Jessica Rose, who slid the ball into the cage.
With 12:31 remaining, it looked as if Maryland had a shot at redemption when a yellow card team foul was called and Michigan forward April Fronzoni was forced to sit out for a little over six minutes. During this time, the Terps came close to scoring. A shot by senior Dina Rizzo missed the left side of the net by inches.
The Terps again earned several corners but did not convert.
"Our corner defense was amazing today," Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz said.
"Jess Rose did a tremendous job. You make adjustments when you lose a player and we did that. We just didn't get rattled. The game comes down to executing in the clutch and our strikers and goalkeeper did that."
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Goals: MI-Hortillosa, Rose. Assists: MI-Gannon 2.
Saves: MI-Tasch 11; MA-Hohnstine 3. Half: MI, 1-0.