Field Hockey Posts Shutout Over Wake Forest in 100th Home Win


The scoreboard counted down, just a few seconds in eight years of play at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park.

5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1.

But as the “game over” buzz droned, the No. 3 Terps (8-1, 2-0 ACC) knew those seconds were special: they had marked Maryland’s 100th win at home.

The stadium, which was built in 2003, has provided a more than decisive home-field advantage for Maryland. The team has not lost at home since October 11, 2008, against Duke, and they only have nine home losses in their eight years there.

Saturday would mark a 36th consecutive home win. And it started fast.

On Maryland’s second penalty corner, seven minutes in, a lucky rebound put the ball in front of junior midfielder Megan Frazer. She dumped the ball into the cage, giving the Terps an early lead, 1-0. Frazer, who began the year with some limiting soreness, has recently bounced back, posting all nine of her points this season in the last four games.

“I was a little bit conservative, just holding back a little bit,” she said of her early play. But now? “Everyone’s giving everything, and I’m giving everything too. That’s what we do. Not be tentative, not sit back. You need to push everything with everyone.”

The remainder of the first half was largely uneventful, punched by some strong saves by Terps goalie Melissa Vassalotti to keep Wake Forest (1-7, 0-2 ACC) off the board. And with just three and a half minutes left before halftime, Maryland midfielder Katie Gerzabeck took the ball on a fast-break run downfield. Playing the line inside, she drove in toward the goal before tipping a shot in, right in front of Demon Deacons goalkeeper Kaitlyn Ruhf.

In spite of their two goals, the team seemed to have trouble making anything happen throughout that half. Their coach knew why.

“On a dead ball, Maryland wants to be a team that dribbles and passes it, right away. [Wake Forest] dribbles it until they get into a one-on-one battle,” head coach Missy Meharg said. “I thought Maryland became the same type of team on a dead ball.”

But they turned it around in the second half.

Only 30 seconds after returning to play, Frazer stepped into the Terps offensive scoring circle on the far side of the field. With some fancy stickwork, she turned the ball into a floating humpback shot. It softly struck the back of the net, and Frazer’s smile couldn’t have been wider.

Minutes later, the Terps made the most of a penalty corner, as sophomore Jill Witmer spied an opening beyond the Wake goalie. She took the ball off a pass and served it into the cage’s back corner. In a short five minutes, the Terps had doubled their score.

Not long after, Witmer would add a hard liner goal from the edge of the scoring circle to pad Maryland’s lead. It would stand as the final score, 5-0.

Wake Forest pushed 10 shots on goal to the Terps’ 17, but suffered a shutout loss uncharacteristic of their many close games this season.

For the team on the other sideline, it was one of the sweetest home victories this year, a fitting salute to Maryland’s history at the complex. The field has played host to 18 NCAA tournament games for the Terps, including two in the Final Four. Maryland is 17-1 in those games.

“It means a lot,” said Meharg. “I know, certainly in the recruiting process, people see this field as a field of dreams: a place that you can really separate from your school life, from your social life, and get out here and stay pretty focused.”

“I would play at home every single game if I could,” Frazer said. “Our pride, this field, the atmosphere, whenever we’re on here it’s all about us, there’s no distractions. You can’t ask for anything more here.”

This year’s ACC Tournament, which happens in early November, will occur entirely at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex. But for now, Maryland and its special field look forward to hosting the Princeton Tigers. They play on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 7:00 p.m.