Some days it's anyone's guess as to how the erratic University of Maryland men's soccer team will perform. There are times, such as during most of yesterday's 2-1 ACC victory over North Carolina, that the Terrapins are among the nation's best.
Then there are the moments, particularly at home, that they are rather ordinary.
Against the Tar Heels, senior Paul Boardman scored two goals and the Terrapins (8-5-1 overall and 3-2 in the ACC) survived mysterious lapses in each half to win for the third time in the last four matches.
Boardman, a midfielder from Liverpool, England, scored his second goal of the game and team-high 11th of the season in the 60th minute to break a 1-1 tie. John Garvey set it up with a nifty move on the right wing and a gentle cross to Boardman, who sent a 10-yard shot into the low left corner.
"We looked great today," Boardman said. "I'm really pleased. We had nothing to lose with the way things have been going. We've been playing well; just haven't been getting the results."
Maryland had upset Howard, Wake Forest and Virginia on the road this season, but lost at home to American, George Washington and Coastal Carolina.
The Tar Heels (9-5, 1-4) were without all-time leading scorer Derek Missimo, who injured his knee this month and is out for the season. Starting goalkeeper Herb Sherry (hand injury) also is out.
The Terrapins controlled the first half with a 12-3 advantage in shots. Boardman scored at 17:06 on an assist from Rockville's Jeff Stroud, Greg McLaughlin struck the left post and Garvey just missed on two good chances from 15 yards.
But after 40 minutes of crisp, interior passing and smooth runs along the wings, Maryland let down before halftime.
On a corner kick, Terrapins goalkeeper Carmine Isaaco collided with a UNC player and couldn't hold the high ball, allowing Tar Heels freshman Grant LeRoux to score on a 16-yard shot with 1:46 left.
After Boardman's second goal, the Terrapins controlled the match until the last 15 minutes, when the Tar Heels pushed for the equalizer.
Hassan Pinto hit the outside of the right post and Isaaco leaped to block Richard Wachsman. UNC's Todd Haskins, the national prep player of the year at Howard High School last year, got off a spinning shot that Isaaco blocked with three seconds left.