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FH: Tar Heels Fall in ACC Title Game

Posted November 10, 2013

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— The North Carolina field hockey team fell just short in its quest for the program’s third-consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference title as top-ranked, top-seeded Maryland earned a 2-0 win Sunday in the conference championship game at Boston College’s Newton Campus Field Hockey Complex.

The Terrapins, which won the program’s 10th title and first since 2010, broke open a scoreless game with two goals in a five-minute span early in the second half to win the crown before moving to the Big Ten Conference next season.

“Congratulations to Maryland for winning the ACC Tournament in their last season in the conference,” UNC coach Karen Shelton said. “They earned the game, particularly in the second half – the first half was kind of even but they took control in the second half.

“I’m proud of our kids. We know this isn’t the end of our season so we’re excited about that and we’re looking forward to next weekend.”

UNC, 16-5 on the season, now awaits the announcement of the 2013 NCAA Tournament bracket. The field will be announced Sunday at 10 p.m. The Tar Heels are expected to receive an at-large berth and make their 30th appearance in the field. Maryland (20-1) earns the ACC’s automatic bid. NCAA Tournament first-round games are set for Saturday, Nov. 16

Three Tar Heels ¬– sophomore Emily Wold, junior Samantha Travers and graduate student Janne Grove – were named to the All-ACC Tournament team, announced immediately after the championship.

On an afternoon that ranged from sunny to cold and cloudy, the Tar Heels and Terrapins held each other scoreless in the first half. UNC goalkeeper Sassi Ammer made three saves to keep the Terrapins, who had six shots, off the board. The Tar Heels managed two shots, but neither was on-target.

But Maryland struck quickly in the second half, scoring 4:07 into the period on a shot by senior Jill Witmer, who earned ACC Tournament MVP honors. Witmer took a pass from Hayley Turner and fired a shot that hit the crossbar and then bounced down into the cage for her team-high 16th goal of the season.

Just under five minutes later, in the 44th minute of play, Maryland added a second goal, this one on a penalty corner. Ammer saved the first shot, but Anna Dessoye put back the rebound for her 10th goal of the season and a 2-0 lead for her team.

With 13:22 remaining in the game, Shelton called a timeout and pulled Ammer in favor of an extra field player. UNC went the distance that way and was able to generate more opportunities, but still did not score a goal.

“We had to get a little bit desperate to try to generate some offense, which we did,” Shelton said. “We had some chances but not enough to get anything past Hunter.”

Maryland keeper Natalie Hunter finished with two saves. UNC’s Ammer made 6 and the Tar Heels got a defensive save from senior Meghan Drake to keep Maryland from scoring while Ammer was out.

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