Maryland's field hockey team has never forgotten how North Carolina broke its heart by scoring the game-winning goal with 11.7 seconds left in last year's national championship game. The two teams met Sunday in this year's title game, and the Terrapins gained a measure of revenge.
Megan Frazer helped break a few Tar Heels' hearts when she scored with 2:10 left in the second period of sudden-death overtime to give No. 1 Maryland a 3-2, come-from-behind victory over No. 2 North Carolina at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex.
Maryland (23-1) has won seven national championships, including four in the past six years. But the Terrapins still were talking about the one they didn't get in 2009, and it was easy to see the way it drove them this year.
"They beat us with [11.7] seconds left," Maryland's Katie O'Donnell said. "To this day and forever, I will always remember that time. But this year, I know that we won with 2:10 left in overtime on an amazing shot."
Frazer got the winning shot in the 7-on-7 overtime format, but O'Donnell started the play in her final game as a Terrapin. She was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year an unprecedented four times, but the senior attacker stole a pass in the North Carolina end, flicked the ball to Frazer and watched as the sophomore midfielder from Ireland scored on a reverse stick shot from the top of the circle.
"After last year, I just have a picture in my mind of them winning," Frazer said. "I just wanted it to be us so much this year. We did it, so I'm happy."
The Terrapins lost seven starters from last year's national runner-up, but they developed into a solid team. Their offense was powerful all year, and with this victory, Maryland finished the season with 15 straight wins.
In addition, Maryland handed North Carolina (22-3) all three of its losses.
"A fantastic result, really exciting game, great athletes at the end there, 14 of them just gutting it out to become national champions," Maryland coach Missy Meharg said. "Great Carolina team as always, just a really fitting finish for us after last year."
The Terps took an early lead with a goal by freshman attacker Hayley Turner just 4:31 into the game. But North Carolina scored twice off of penalty corners to take a 2-1 lead. Meghan Dawson got the first one with 30 seconds left in the first half, and Marta Malmberg put the Tar Heels on top with 28:57 left in regulation.
Maryland stepped up the pressure on offense after that and finally tied the score on sophomore defender Harriet Tribble's goal with 7:25 remaining. That forced overtime, which the Terrapins dominated, constantly coming up with scoring chances as the 7-on-7 format opened up the field.
"It was two good teams going at it, as you would hope in a national championship," North Carolina coach Karen Shelton summarized. "We just fell a little bit short at the end."
NC 1 1 0 0—2
M 1 1 0 1—3
Goals: N—Dawson, Malmberg; M—Turner, Tibble, Frazer. Assists: N—Brill 2, Ardrey 2; M—Buckley. Saves: N—Kintzer 9; M—Vassalotti 5. Half: 1-1. Regulation: 2-2.