COLLEGE PARK, Md. - After the two teams headed into halftime tied 1-1, the eighth-ranked Duke field hockey scored early in the second stanza and shut out the Terrapins the rest of the way to claim a 2-1 victory over No. 3 Maryland Friday afternoon in the semifinals of the 2011 ACC Championship.
With the win, Duke (13-6) advances to the conference tournament finals for the third time in program history and the first time since the 2003 season. The Blue Devils will face No. 1 North Carolina, who defeated Wake Forest 2-1 in the semifinals, Sunday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m., for the ACC Championship.
Maryland (15-4) started the game strong and took an early lead in the ninth minute following a penalty corner, but senior Rhian Jones tied the game just before the end of the half and sophomore Emmie Le Marchand put Duke ahead for good less than two minutes into the second period. Maryland outshot Duke 10-9 for the game, but the Blue Devils dictated the tempo in the second half, outshooting the Terrapins 7-4 after halftime.
"I just want to say how proud I am of this team, especially coming back after a hard-fought game yesterday," said head coach Pam Bustin. "We stuck with our game plan, and stuck to our belief that we could compete and win this game, and ultimately advance to the finals."
The Terrapins were awarded the first penalty corner of the game less than five minutes in, and Maryland took advantage of the early opportunity to grab a 1-0 lead. Duke goalie Samantha Nelson, who made five saves on the afternoon, stopped the two initial shots, but Maryland's Colleen Gulick gathered the rebound for the score.
Trailing by one with six minutes to go in the first half, Duke knotted the score on Jones' first goal of the season, assisted by Le Marchand, following a Blue Devil corner in the 37th minute.
The second half belonged to the Blue Devils and Duke wasted little time taking the lead, earning a penalty corner at the 33:10 mark to set up the eventual game-winning goal. Jones connected with Le Marchand, who was positioned on the left post, for the goal, giving the sophomore forward 16 goals this season.
Duke's defense stymied the Maryland offense after the goal and did not allow a Terrapin shot for over 16 minutes to start the half. As the end of the game neared, Maryland pulled its goalkeeper, but Duke maintained its composure. The Terrapins were awarded two penalty corners as time expired, but could not get a shot off to tie the game.
Duke will meet North Carolina for the second time this season Sunday. The Tar Heels won the two teams' first meeting this season 1-0 in double overtime on Sept. 24. Sunday's championship game will be broadcast live on RSN.