By Gillian Vesely
After a strong win over Princeton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Maryland Terrapins fell behind early to University of Albany and saw their championship dreams slip away as the clock ticked down the final minutes in Sunday afternoon’s game.
Despite a late goal by freshman forward Welma Luus, they Terps fell 2-1 to the Great Danes in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park, Md.
“Maryland brought a lot to the table a little bit too late,” Terps head coach Missy Meharg said after the game.
The Terps uncharacteristically allowed the Danes to score first, with the goal coming off a corner by Albany’s Echo Bretz about 18 minutes into the first half.
It wasn’t until ten minutes remained in half that the Terps finally got a chance at a penalty corner of their own, the team’s specialty throughout the season. But they could not capitalize on the opportunity.
Despite an abnormally high number of turnovers, Maryland managed to get off five shots in the first half, but the Great Danes’ goalkeeper Maxi Primus saved them all.
The Terps suffered a scare with less than three minutes remaining in the first period when Maryland senior forward Katie Gerzabek crashed head-on into an Albany player. She was assisted off the field by Maryland trainers while holding a cloth to her nose.
The Terps’ bench was fired up, though in a 1-0 hole to begin the second half, but Gerzabek remained on the sideline. She returned to the game about seven minutes into the final period.
Pahila Arnold scored Albany’s second goal on a penalty corner about one minute after Gerzabek’s return.
Down 2-0 with their season seemingly ticking away, Meharg decided to pull Maryland redshirt senior goalkeeper Brooke Cabrera and replace her with an extra field player. Redshirt junior midfielder/defender Kasey Tapman was inserted as the Terps’ extra player.
“She’s so tenacious, and she’s a perfect kicking back,” Meharg said of Tapman.
The strategic move paid off less than two minutes later with Luus’ score.
Maryland’s shots did not break often enough, as UA ultimately claimed the victory.
“If we would have played how we know we can play all game, I think it could have been a different outcome,” said the Terps’ junior forward/midfielder Alyssa Parker.
Although the Terps will not be among its participants, the NCAA Final Four and Championship rounds will be in College Park, Md. on Nov. 22 and 23.