George Mason Men's Soccer Team Upsets Maryland

By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Since Greg Andrulis's arrival as men's soccer coach in 2005, George Mason has been steadily reestablishing itself on the national scene after years adrift. Tuesday night's 2-0 upset over third-ranked and defending champion Maryland was yet another steppingstone.

Two former prep stars from the state of Maryland provided the goals -- Victor Freeman (Bowie) midway through the first half and Draymond Washington (Magruder) about a minute after intermission -- and the Patriots survived a red card to hold off the injury-depleted Terrapins before 2,781 at George Mason Stadium.

"It validates the things we have been doing, the progress we have been making as a program," said Andrulis, a former MLS coach of the year with the Columbus Crew who has guided the Patriots to the NCAA tournament twice. "We've made good strides, and when you can win a game like this, it shows we are heading in the right direction."

Four days after beating previously unbeaten North Carolina in a rematch of the 2008 NCAA title game, the Terrapins (5-2-1) lacked energy and precision. They were also weakened by the absence of forward Casey Townsend (sore ankle) and midfielder Doug Rodkey, who broke his foot against the Tar Heels and will miss at least five weeks.

Nonetheless, "it was a very disappointing effort on our part," Maryland Coach Sasho Cirovski said. "We could have played another 90 minutes and not scored a goal. We lacked in all areas and weren't a connected team."

Despite playing short-handed for 50 minutes because of Ryan Gracia's ejection, the Patriots (6-2) didn't crack and then turned to Sean Kelley to make six saves in avenging a loss to Maryland in the second round of last year's NCAA tournament.

The Terrapins started well enough, forcing Kelley to make a superb reflex save on Ethan White's bicycle kick barely a minute into the match. But overall, they sputtered on attack and conceded an alarming number of opportunities.

Three minutes after White's bid, the Patriots should have gone ahead when unmarked Richard Edgar missed an open net from six yards on Washington's cross.

Freeman made no such mistakes. In the 20th minute, left back Mike Foss's service was deflected in a crowd and fell to Freeman in the middle of the penalty area for a low finish past goalkeeper Zac MacMath -- just the second goal allowed by Maryland in six matches.

The Patriots had a golden chance to expand the lead, but Garcia's one-timer deep in the box, set up by Foss's cross, zipped narrowly wide. Garcia's evening ended soon thereafter when he was sent off by referee Andrew Chapin for a harsh challenge on Alex Lee.

The departure seemed to inspire the Patriots, and just 67 seconds after intermission, Foss delivered an entry ball that Freeman flicked and Washington pushed into the lower right corner for his third goal of the year.

Faced with their largest deficit since late in the season-opening loss to UCLA, the Terrapins pressed to get back into the match. Paul Torres lashed a 20-yard shot off the crossbar, and Kelley was forced to make saves from long range and close distance in a four-minute span.

Maryland's superior possession didn't translate into much else, though. Its shooting was terribly off.

"If we can beat Maryland with 10 people, it says a lot about what we can do in our conference," Freeman said of the Patriots, who are favored to win the Colonial Athletic Association. "We just need to keep up that intensity and we'll do great."

-- VIRGINIA 1, VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH 0: In Charlottesville, Chris Agorsor scored with a minute left in overtime to lift the No. 16 Cavaliers (6-2) over the Rams (3-3-1).

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