The Virginia men's soccer team, in danger of missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1980, took an important step this afternoon in ensuring it will be a part of this year's event.
The seventh-seeded Cavaliers, who finished last in the ACC during the regular season, used impressive defense and early scores to secure a 2-0 upset over second-seeded Maryland at Spry Stadium in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
"We ran into a team that needed a win to make the NCAA tournament," said Maryland Coach Sasho Cirovski, whose team fell to 14-5-0. "I think they accomplished it tonight. Virginia was the hunter, and we were the hunted."
Virginia (11-7-1) will next face third-seeded Wake Forest (12-1-5), which defeated sixth-seeded N.C. State, 2-1. Despite the loss, the Terrapins, ranked fifth nationally, should receive a bid to the NCAA tournament next week.
The Cavaliers opened the game aggressively pressing forward against a stingy Maryland defense that allowed .82 goals per game.
"Our strategy was to come after them," Virginia Coach George Gelnovatch said. "I don't think they expected us to play like that early on."
Virginia scored early as the Terrapins looked unorganized and sluggish. The Cavaliers went ahead after five minutes when sophomore Sheldon Barnes slid a pass behind defender Beckett Hollenbach to wide-open sophomore Ryan Trout, who fired a low shot past goalkeeper Christian Lewis. Fourteen minutes later, the Cavaliers went up 2-0 when sophomore Steve Totten sent a low cross in the middle of the box to Barnes, who put a header past Lewis.
Virginia shut down the Maryland attack and its top goal-scorer, Taylor Twellman. The Terps, who averaged 2.33 goals per game in the regular season, didn't get a shot on goal until 17 minutes were left in the first half.
* UNC 1, CLEMSON 0: After 106 scoreless minutes, sophomore Matt Laycock (Centennial) scored in double overtime to lift fifth-seeded North Carolina into the semifinals. North Carolina advanced to play top-seeded Duke Friday at 5:30 p.m.