COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The 2010 Ohio State field hockey season came to an end Saturday night with a 3-1 loss to No. 1 Maryland in the first NCAA semifinal appearance in program history at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex in College Park, Md. The Buckeyes (18-5, 5-1 Big Ten) opened the scoring with a goal in the first five minutes of the game, but the Terrapins rallied with three goals in front of 1,526 fans on their home turf to advance to the national championship game.
Along with its first NCAA Final Four appearance, the 2010 Buckeye campaign will go down as one of the best in program history after breaking multiple single-season records, including most wins (18), points (213), goals (71) and assists (71) to go along with a Big Ten regular season co-championship.
“I’m very proud of the leadership on this team with our captains and seniors and we had a great season to remember for Ohio State field hockey,” 15-year head coach Anne Wilkinson said.
The Scarlet and Gray were led by senior forward Jena Cacciatore, who concluded her career with the lone Buckeye goal in the game. Cacciatore, a second team NFHCA All-West Region selection, finishes with 28 points on 13 goals, which are both career highs.
“It meant a lot to us this year to make it to NCAA Final Four and that’s been our No. 1 goal from the beginning of the season and we worked all year to accomplish that,” Cacciatore said. “We were thankful to be here to play in this awesome game tonight.”
Maryland was led by senior forward and four-time ACC Offensive Player of the Year Katie O’Donnell who scored all three goals for the hat trick.
In the first half, Ohio State earned the game’s first penalty corner in the first five minutes. On the corner, the ball slipped outside the circle, but the Buckeye offense was able to work it back to the left side of the cage where Cacciatore found space for a shot on goal. The native of Allentown, Pa., collected the rebound around a group of Maryland defenders and sent a reverse shot high in front of goal, beating goalkeeper Melissa Vassalotti for the early 1-0 Buckeye lead at 4:34.
The Scarlet and Gray held Maryland without a shot for the first 16 minutes of the game until the Terrapins earned a penalty corner at 16:25. Following the corner, Maryland sent a cross pass from right side where O’Donnell scored from the left post at 16:38.
Maryland continued on the attack late in the first half. O’Donnell found space and weaved her way through the Buckeye defense but was denied with a shot wide of the right post.
In the second half, the Terrapins took a 2-1 lead following a penalty corner at 43:49. Jemma Buckley fired a shot from the top of the circle that was denied by a sideway save by OSU goalkeeper Ally Tunitis, but O’Donnell was there to slap the ball in mid-air over Tunitis into the back of the cage for the score.
Junior back Jenn Sciulli made a key defensive save minutes later to keep the score at 2-1 following a Maryland penalty corner. A 2010 second team NFHCA All-West Region selection, Sciulli rounds out the year with eight defensive saves, which is the fifth-most in Ohio State history.
The Terrapins secured the win after Harriet Tibble sent a through ball from midfield into the middle of the circle where O’Donnell scored off a deflection to complete the hat trick at 62:57.
“Maryland made some adjustments and we had a hard time dealing with their counterattack,” Wilkinson said. “They are a very strong team and there’s a reason why they are the No. 1 team in the country.”
Senior co-captain Bri Doak broke Ohio State’s career games played record in her final game with 82 games, passing Curlyne Wynn (2003-06) who had the previous mark with 81.