MESSIMER'S GOAL AT THE STROKE OF THE HALF GIVES TERPS TITLE

From the TopOfTheCircle.com news services

BOSTON, Mass. -- Carissa Messimer, the Maryland freshman from Mountain Top, Pa., has a reputation for being a goal-scorer. Coming out of high school with the third-highest total (149) in National Federation history tends to do that.

But getting the game-winning goal in the national championship game is a lot better than all the rest combined.

A streaking Messimer laid her stick on a strong Dina Rizzo cross in the last five seconds of the first half to give the top-ranked (24-1) Terrapins a 2-0 halftime lead. The field goal held up in the end for a 2-1 win over Michigan in the championship final of the NCAA Division I field tournament.

"We came out with intensity and played our brand of field hockey," Maryland coach Missy Meharg said. "We totally controlled the defensive play. This was the most skillful team I've ever coached."

Indeed, Maryland had such a stranglehold on possession and the flow of the game that Michigan -- in its first Division I tournament, much less a final -- managed just two shots on goal.

One of those shots, however, found the back of the cage. That was by Wolverines' freshman Jessica Rose of Lititz, Pa.

The odd thing about the scoreline of the game was the fact that the alma maters of both Rose and Messimer had won their respective state championships in Pennsylvania the day before the final. Rose is an alumna of Warwick, the 1999 AAA champ, while Messimer had played for Crestwood, which won the AA title back home.

"Our coach told us whoever scored first in the second half would have the momentum. When the ball came to me I dove and took my best shot," Rose said of her field goal in the 37th minute of play.

"We played as hard as we could all year," said former Olympian Marcia Pankratz, the Michigan coach. "It was an awesome accomplishment to make it to this game and a huge stepping stone for the future of our program."

The Wolverines had been unable to parlay its amazing recruiting classes and world-class coaching staff into an NCAA tournament bid until this season. Michigan traveled a hard but satisfying road to get to Boston, going into overtime on a couple of occasions in the Big Ten and the NCAA tournament.

Keli Smith -- another Pennsylvanian, from Selinsgrove -- had opened the scoring with a field goal in the 11th minute. From then on, Maryland's defense would yield very little in the way of Wolverine chances.

 Maryland  2  0

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Michigan  0  1

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Goals-- MD: Keli Smith, Carissa Messimer; MI: Jessica Rose. Assists -- MD: Dina Rizzo; MI: Jessie Veith.

Shots-- MD 9; MI 2. Saves-- MD: Ashley Hohnstine 1. MI: Kati Oakes 7.

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