By: Max Marcilla
The Maryland Terrapins pursuit of their ninth national championship came to an end Sunday afternoon, as the Terps dropped their NCAA quarterfinals matchup to North Carolina 3-0.
Maryland, which won the Big Ten regular season outright, dropped two of its last three contests, including the Big Ten championship game against Penn State.
“It’s disappointing,” head coach Missy Meharg said after the loss. “One, because of the outcome. But two, because it’s the last game of your season. It’s knockout time and North Carolina [ran] some great set pieces.”
The Terps and Tar Heels were evenly matched for the majority of Sunday’s game, but it was North Carolina that broke the scoreless drought first.
Twenty-four minutes into the first half, sophomore Ashley Hoffman netted the game’s first goal, giving the Tar Heels the 1-0 lead.
That score would stay the same through halftime, but Hoffman, the forward from Mohnton, Pa. wasn’t done.
Just under three minutes into the second half, Hoffman scored again to extend UNC’s lead to 2-0. Both of Hoffman’s goals were assisted by Julia Young and Malin Evert.
An empty-net goal gave the Tar Heels the 3-0 lead, the score which they would win by to advance to the Final Four.
Meharg reflected on the season past, her 29th at the helm of the Maryland field hockey program.
“You look at the seniors and it’s a pretty incredible group,” she praised. “Courtney Deena and Emma [Rissinger]… Delaney Leathers — she struggled with an injury the entire season and was still so much of a survivor and a ruthless competitor every day — and Welma [Luus]. They’re an amazing group of five women and we’ll miss them deeply.”
Luus, one of Maryland’s captains, led the Terps with 15 goals on the season.
“I feel like I’ve been here forever,” Luus said. “Being done, I don’t think it’s sinking in yet. But I’m just really happy for the opportunity that I’ve had for the past almost six years. I love Maryland and I love this team. Of course it’s going to hurt, but it has to come to an end at some point.”
Luus and the rest of the senior class will leave the program but the Terps recently welcomed in a pair of recruits: forward Mayv Clune and defender Sophie Giezeman.
North Carolina will advance to the Final Four, where it will face Connecticut.