What happened in the first 20 minutes is what cost the Terrapins a trip to Sunday's final four in Santa Clara, Calif.
Goals by Monica Gerardo and Jennifer Streiffer were all the top-ranked Irish needed in a 2-0 win yesterday at Saint Mary's College Field. The contest wasn't played at Notre Dame's Alumni Field because of poor field conditions.
"Considering the conditions, it was a great game," said disappointed Maryland coach Alan Kirkup.
Snow flurries fell throughout the match, and the wind chill lowered the temperature to zero degrees.
"I thought after the first 20 minutes we settled down and got rid of our nerves," Kirkup said. "The first 20 minutes were awful for us. They could have been up 3-0 in the first two minutes."
Gerardo's shot found the left corner of the net at the 16-minute mark to give the Irish a 1-0 lead. Terrapins goalie Missy Price dove for the ball but had no chance to knock it down.
Notre Dame stretched its lead to 2-0 two minutes later when Streiffer scored off a rebound. Gerardo was credited with the assist.
Maryland's best chance to score in the first half came on a direct kick by Keri Sarver but the sophomore forward missed wide left on her attempt.
"We came into the game knowing and believing we could win," Sarver said. "Any team has a chance on any given day."
In the second half, Maryland's Maureen McDonough had a good chance to score but was denied by Notre Dame goalie Jen Renola. Erin Taylor also missed on a direct kick in the second half.
The Terps were outshot 19-7.
"It's a great accomplishment for our seniors," said Irish coach Chris Petrocelli, whose 23-1 team will meet Portland (19-0-2) in the national semifinals Friday. "When the seniors came in here Notre Dame had never been to the NCAA tournament. Now they've been to three straight final fours."
The defeat marked the second consecutive year Maryland lost in the quarterfinal round. The Terps (19-5-2) were defeated by Portland a year ago.
"We got 19 wins this year and were one of the top eight teams in regards to the NCAA tournament," Kirkup said. "That's a pretty good year."
The future looks bright for Maryland, which loses just four seniors.
"We have to continue to recruit well and fill the holes left by the graduation of Price, McDonough, Taylor and [Naomi] Realey," Kirkup said. "As long as we recruit good players we're going to be there. We realized we played against one of the elite teams in the country for 70 minutes and we made a great game of it. We can carry that into next season."
Goals: ND-- Gerardo, Streiffer. Assists: ND-- Gerardo. Saves: UM-- Price 6; ND-- Renola 3. Halftime: Notre Dame 2-0.
Pub Date: 12/02/96