Maryland soccer blanks George Mason thanks in part to Matt Kassel

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By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 21, 2010; 10:56 PM

Maryland midfielder Matt Kassel supplied the service. Teammate London Woodberry's rear end and a George Mason defender's leg provided the goals.

The fifth-ranked Terrapins weren't in tune in the run of play Tuesday night but took advantage of Kassel's set pieces nine minutes apart in the second half to defeat the Patriots, 2-0, in a nonconference soccer match at Ludwig Field in College Park.

In stretching their unbeaten streak to five, Maryland (4-1-1) avenged a 2-0 upset loss in Fairfax last year and geared up defensively for Friday's ACC showdown at No. 3 North Carolina on Friday.

Since conceding four goals in a season-opening loss to Michigan State, the Terrapins have allowed just two. They were hardly threatened by the Patriots (4-2) in the second half, who lacked possession and relied heavily on counterattacks.

Maryland's victory came in the 1,000th match since the program was founded in 1946 and improved the all-time record to 615-305-80.

"It wasn't our best night with our precision in the attack," Coach Sasho Cirovski said, "but I thought we controlled the match."

The breakthrough came 10 minutes into the second half when Kassel pumped a long free kick deep into the penalty area. Woodberry, a sophomore defender, turned in mid-air and deflected the ball into the right corner of the net with his backside for his first career goal.

"It hit me in the butt. I'll take it; it's a goal," he said. "The guy wasn't really defending me that closely so I slid behind him."

To that point, George Mason had done well to absorb pressure. "They were obviously the better team on the night and we were hanging on," Patriots Coach Greg Andrulis said. "After that goal, we couldn't recover."

In the 64th minute, from about 30 yards away, Kassel sent a free kick to the edge of the six-yard box. Under pressure from Maryland's Ethan White, Patriots defender Chase Miller attempted to volley the hard-driven ball wide. Instead, he sent it into the left corner of the net for an own goal.

"I need to beat the first guy" with the free kick, Kassel said. "If I beat the first guy, it's all up to the rest of the [Maryland] guys to make hard runs into the box and makes things dangerous and hard for the keeper."

George Mason's three-forward formation didn't bother a Maryland back line with three sophomores and a junior. Maryland had a 17-3 advantage on shots as junior goalkeeper Zac MacMath earned his third shutout of the season and 22nd of his career.

In the late stages, George Mason goalie Sean Cote made a fine save on Patrick Mullins's ferocious shot and a Patriots defender blocked Jordan Cyrus's volley at the goal line.

VIRGINIA 2, AMERICAN 0: In Charlottesville, Brian Ownby scored in the 60th minute and Will Bates added another in the 78th as the No. 7 Cavaliers (4-1-1) rebounded from a loss to Wake Forest that ended a 20-game unbeaten streak Saturday. The Eagles (3-3) were short-handed for 21 minutes after Adem Gokturk's red card.

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