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Field hockey title a first for 'M' women's team
By Bob Hunt
KENT, Ohio - Years from now, people won't
remember that yesterday the Michigan field hockey
team played the consensus No. 1 team in the country.
They won't remember that its opponent had six senior
starters. They won't remember that its opponent had
beaten the Wolverines just two years earlier in the
But they will remember that these women were the
leaders and the best.
Led by the incredible play of senior goaltender Mau-
reen Tasch and a great all-around defensive effort, the
Michigan field hockey team knocked off top-ranked
Maryland 2-0 to capture the NCAA Division I Nation-
al Championship and Michigan's first national title in a
"I'm happy to bring another one home for the
Wolverines," said Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz.
"Men's programs, women's programs, revenue, non-
revenue - it doesn't matter. We're just really proud to
be a part of the University."
This completes a resurgence to a program that had
never made the NCAA tournament until 1999 when
the Terrapins defeated the Wolverines in the title game.
"It's pretty darn exciting," Michigan Athletic Direc-
tor Bill Martin said last night. "Being the first of any-
thing is pretty historic."
Tasch pulled out the first shutout in a championship
game since 1996. She stopped 13 shots against the
nation's No. 1 scoring offense, giving the first field
hockey title to a school west of Virginia since Iowa
won in 1986.
"Obviously nothing could be better than this and it
still hasn't quite all processed in my mind," Tasch said.
"I haven't cried like everyone else yet."
Maryland controlled the play early, but with two
minutes remaining in the first half, Kristi Gannon
sent a crossing pass from the far right side through
the Maryland defense and Maryland keeper Ash-
ley Hohnstine and somehow found Big Ten fresh-
man of the year Adrienne Hortillosa in front of a
wide-open net to put the ball home, giving Michi-
gan the lead.
"The first five minutes, they really kind of came at
us, and I think then we kind of got our jitters out and
sold ourselves and got back in it," said Michigan mid-
fielder Jessica Rose.
Just after intermission, Michigan stunned the crowd
as Gannon found Rose at the top of the circle off a
penalty corner. Rose blasted it into the net to give the
underdog Wolverines a two-goal advantage.
Maryland dominated play for the rest of the
game, but the Michigan defense, led by Tasch,
Stephanie Johnson, and Catherine Foreman, staved
off the Terrapins.
"The last 20 minutes they really had us on our heels,
but we held on," Rose said.
Maryland fired eleven shots in the second half, but
Tasch made one incredible save after another. Even
after Michigan forward April Fronzoni was called off
the field with about 12 minutes remaining for a yellow
card for tackling a player from behind, the constant
adversity only made Michigan stronger.
"I felt like with each little new challenge they were
put with, I just knew that we would get even stronger"
While they were not as highly ranked as the Terrap-
ins, the ups and downs that Michigan experienced
throughout the season gave them confidence going in.
The Wolverines were at one point ranked No. 2 in the
country but, toward the end of the season, dropped two
conference games and lost in the semifinals of the Big
Ten Tournament. Meanwhile, Maryland had rolled
through its regional and came into the game having
won nine in a row.
"I felt like the No. 1 team today maybe didn't have
the ups and downs and the adversity to relish what we
had been in," Johnson said. "So we knew what sort of
great opportunity we had been presented with today."
The Michigan field hockey team shows off its NCAA championship trophy in Crisler
Arena. The title was the first for a women's team in Michigan's history.