The University Record, December 3, 2001

Field Hockey wins U-M’s first women’s NCAA team title

By Paul Thomas
Department of Athletics

(Photo courtesy of Athletic Department Media Relations)
The University of Michigan won its first NCAA team championship in a women’s sport as the Wolverines field hockey team posted a 2–0 win over top-ranked Maryland in the NCAA championship game at Kent State’s Dix Stadium. The victory earned the field hockey team the 51st national team title in U-M athletics history.

Of Michigan’s first women’s national championship, head coach Marcia Pankratz said, “I’m just happy to bring another one home for the Wolverines. Men’s programs, women’s programs, revs, non-revs, it doesn’t matter. We’re just really proud to be a part of the University and they’ve given us so much tremendous support to be successful, and we’re just happy we’re able to bring home a championship.”

With the win, Michigan (18–5) becomes the second team from the Midwest to capture the NCAA title, joining 1986 champion Iowa. The Wolverines avenged a 2–1 loss to the Terrapins in the 1999 NCAA championship game.

Of the game, Pankratz said, “I’m very proud of our team. Maryland has such tremendous talent and they’re a wonderful team, and to go out and play them for the national championship and be victorious has me thrilled. Our team effort included everybody, and that’s how it’s been all year. We don’t have any superstars, we just have a team that plays hard and plays well together.”

Team member Stephanie Johnson said, “Having gone through the ups and downs with our team, we came out this season thinking we should be the No.1 team. We played like we were for a month at the beginning of the season, had the ups and downs in the middle and learned what it took to be a No. 1 team at that point in time. The No. 1 team coming in today maybe hadn’t had the adversity to relish the position we had been in, so we knew what sort of rare opportunity we had been presented with.”

The Wolverines’ defense, which held opponents to just six shots per game this season, survived a shelling by Maryland as the Terrapins unloaded 20 shots, including 11 in the second half. Eleven of the Terps’ total shots made it on net, where goalkeeper Maureen Tasch was there to knock them away en route to her eighth shutout of the season, setting the U-M school record for shutouts in a single campaign.

With time winding down in the first half, and the Wolverines attempting a penalty corner, freshman forward Hortillosa put U-M up 1–0, tipping in a pass from sophomore defender Kristi Gannon. Gannon received the ball from senior defender Catherine Foreman and fed it across the circle to a wide-open Hortillosa, who tipped it into the empty cage.

The Wolverines took a 2–0 lead just under six minutes into the second half on its only penalty corner attempt of the period when Gannon unleashed a blast from the top of the circle, which caromed off Maryland keeper Ashley Hohnstine into the back of the cage. Foreman and senior midfielder Ali Balmer were credited with assists.

Michigan’s win over Maryland was its first-ever victory over the Terrapins. During its NCAA title run, U-M posted wins for the first time over North Carolina, Princeton and Maryland.