UM advances to national title game on penalty corner

field hockey maryland 2, iowa 1, 2ot

November 22, 2008|By From Sun staff reports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sophomore Katie O'Donnell scored on a penalty corner in the 89th minute, giving the top-seeded Maryland field hockey team a 2-1 double-overtime victory over Iowa in a national semifinal game yesterday.

The victory earned the Terps a berth in their third national championship game in four years.

Maryland, which won national titles in 2005 and 2006, will play the winner of last night's Syracuse-Wake Forest matchup at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the University of Louisville.

The game will air on CBS College Sports Network.

Senior Susie Rowe assisted on the clinching goal.

Junior Alicia Grater finished with six saves, including three diving stops early in the second overtime period.

The Hawkeyes had three open looks at the cage - the final two coming off penalty corners - but Grater thwarted each attempt. Iowa outshot the Terps 11-10.

Both teams struggled to maintain much offensive flow on an icy field as temperatures dropped throughout the evening. Although fourth-seeded Iowa (18-5) dominated time of possession for much of the first half, the Terrapins (21-2) scored first. With 5:11 remaining in the first half, junior Nicole Muracco poked in a rebounded save.

The goal was Muracco's 24th of the season, tying her for the third-most-prolific season in Terps history.

The teams came out to an increasingly slick field in the second half. Again, neither team could muster much offensive flow, although each had scoring opportunities that were turned away by strong short-handed defense.

In the 55th minute, Iowa was awarded a penalty corner. Caroline Blaum found fellow senior Lauren Pfeiffer, who slammed it home to tie the score at 1.

Yesterday's victory was Maryland's fifth over Iowa in five NCAA tournament games and the fourth in a national semifinal. After the previous three semifinal wins, Maryland went on to win the crown.

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