Tuesday, November 4, 2008

#1 Maryland Field Hockey Gears for the ACC Tournament

The Maryland field hockey has completed their regular season and heads to Durham for the ACC Tournament. They are the #1 team in the country with a 16-2 record and hold the 1-seed in the tournament with a conference record of 4-1.

Player of the Year candidate Katie O'Donnell is having another stellar season, notching 18 goals and 17 assists. Keep in mind, she is only a sophomore forward and was on the U.S. National Team before she even came to Maryland. Susie Rowe is having a very solid senior season at back, leading the team in points with 58 with 22 goals and 14 assists. Junior Alicia Grater is just her first season starting goal allows less than a goal per contest. The Terps have been so dominant this season, they have scored 90 goals while allowing only 16.

But watch out for the ACC. Four of the six teams are in the top-6, and all teams are in the top-15. Here are the squads (rankings are as of 10/28/08):
--1 seed: Maryland (#1 ranking, 16-2 record, 4-1 in ACC)
--2 seed: North Carolina (#6 ranking, 14-4 record, 3-2 in ACC, defending national champion)
--3 seed: Wake Forest (#2 ranking, 17-2 record, 3-2 in ACC)
--4 seed: Virginia (#13 ranking, 12-7 record, 2-3 in ACC)
--5 seed: Duke (#4 ranking, 14-4 record, 2-3 in ACC)
--6 seed: Boston College (#14 ranking, 12-6 record, 1-4 in ACC)

There is no bad team in this tournament, and it is possible that this tournament is harder than the NCAAs. There is a reason half of the field hockey national championships belong to the ACC. The tournament begins on Thursday, with the 3-6 seeds playing, and the 1 and 2 seeds will play on Friday, the championship being on Sunday in Durham. Maryland has quite the battle ahead of them, but when they have their entire starting squad on the field, they have not lost to an ACC team. Their lone ACC loss to Duke came when O'Donnell and two other players were in Mexico for the Pan Am Games. But with this field, anything can happen.

(Photo credit: Maryland athletics)

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