Maryland men's soccer topples Virginia, 2-0
Saturday, October 30, 2010; 12:15 AM
CHARLOTTESVILLE - By scoring after just 92 seconds Friday night, Maryland altered the complexion of its annual showdown with Virginia. By adding another goal less than three minutes into the second half, the third-ranked Terrapins tightened their grip on the men's soccer match at Klockner Stadium.
And despite the absence of two starting defenders, Maryland was superior in all facets to secure its eighth consecutive victory, a 2-0 decision over the No. 11 Cavaliers before 3,944 spectators.
Jason Herrick redirected Casey Townsend's shot for the opening goal in the second minute and John Stertzer nodded in Matt Kassel's free kick shortly after the break as the Terrapins (12-2-1, 6-1-1) earned a share of first place in the ACC with North Carolina. Because they lost to the Tar Heels, the Terrapins will be the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, which begins Nov. 9 in Cary, N.C.
"I like where the team is," Maryland Coach Sasho Cirovski said. "We're getting better and better, and starting to feel that we can make a deep run" in the postseason.
The Terrapins became the first team since November 2008 to score twice against the Cavaliers in Charlottesville. They also earned their sixth shutout during the winning streak.
With central defender Ethan White (ankle) and right back London Woodberry (quadriceps) sidelined, Cirovski assembled a makeshift back line that included midfielder Billy Cortes in place of Woodberry. Reserve Greg Young joined Alex Lee in the middle.
Defensive issues afflicted Virginia (9-3-3, 2-3-2), not Maryland. In the second minute, Kassel served a corner kick into the heart of the penalty area. After a failed clearance and a couple of deflections, Townsend smashed a low shot that Herrick redirected. It was Herrick's team-high seventh goal.
"They are very good on restarts," Cavaliers Coach George Gelnovatch said. "It's not like we didn't see it, weren't talking about it and prepared for it. It's a lack of concentration. When you get hit like that early on, it really disrupts you."
Shortly after intermission, Kassel delivered a free kick from 40 yards deep into the box. Stertzer, a Flint Hill graduate in his second career start, made a near-post run and nodded the ball into the short side for his first goal of the year.
"Whenever Kassel gets a free kick, it's always going to be a dangerous ball," Stertzer said. "I knew I just had to get in front of my player and try to beat him to the ball."
The Cavaliers' play turned urgent, but Sean Hiller's distant drive was smothered by goalkeeper Zac MacMath and Brian Ownby, who had five goals in the previous five matches, missed high at the end of an assertive dash.
For the most part, Maryland remained calm under pressure and MacMath handled every speculative high ball. Restrepo, Virginia's only senior starter, prevented further damage with a terrific save on Townsend in the 74th minute.
"We were really in control," Cirovski said. "I didn't think we ever panicked, we never got rattled. You could see the growth from last year: The level of maturity dealing with situations is much greater."
Maryland will host William & Mary on Tuesday night.