The Maryland women’s soccer team played its first round NCAA Tournament game against the Stony Brook Seawolves at Ludwig field tonight and though the Terps advanced to the second round for the second consecutive year, tonight’s game was one of those matches that keep fans nervous and on the edge of their seats. The Terrapins dominated the action on the pitch from the outset pushing forward and developing opportunities. Riley Barger’s shot in the fourth minute was blocked out of bounds giving Maryland the first of its four corner kicks for the half. In the 8th minute, Senior Becky Kaplan launched a shot that was easily saved by Stony Brook’s goalie – her first of 9 saves on the night. After another failed corner in the 14th minute, freshman Ashley Spivey used her speed to make a run through the Seawolves defense and unleashed a shot from the right side that improbably hit the inside of the far post and caromed out. Despite all the pressure applied by the Terps, they appeared to be a bit over anxious at times taking shots that were either blocked by a Stony Brook team that looked as though they were content to commit to defending or that were easily saved by the Seawolves goalie when a pass might have served to develop a better scoring chance. Stony Brook managed its only shot of the half in the 31st minute but it was turned aside by RS freshman goal keeper Rachelle Beanlands. Although Maryland was able to dominate the stat sheet – out shooting the visitors 11-1 and holding a 4-0 edge in corner kicks, the half ended in a 0-0 tie.
The second half more or less mirrored the first with the Terrapins the much more aggressive team although the visitors did develop a few shot opportunities of their own. A dramatic flurry beginning in the 80th minute provided the clearest demonstration of why this type of game can make fans nervous. The Terps had continued to dominate the pace and location of play using their superior speed to maintain a seemingly continuous presence in the attacking third. For the first 34 minutes of the half they out shot the Seawolves 10 -3 with 5 of those on goal and created 4 more corners to Stony Brook’s none but still could not break through. In the 80th minute Spivey was again able to get some space from the Stony Brook defense and had what appeared to be a golden opportunity to break the ice but her powerful shot landed straight into the midsection of the goalie. With so many Terp players pushing forward, Stony Brook launched a quick counter attack that led to a terrific shot opportunity less than a minute later and that would have negated 80 minutes of dominating play by Maryland. Fortunately for the Terps, the shot flew just wide. In the 85th minute, senior forward Becky Kaplan, the Terrapins’ second leading scorer was finally able to make all the aggressive play pay off. After a Seawolves turnover in their defensive third, Kaplan was able to turn on the ball and drill home a shot from about 20 yards into the lower left corner. Maryland was able to tack on an insurance goal three minutes later when Danielle Hubka headed a cross from the right to Kaplan who made an easy pass back to a cutting Haley Brock for the goal from about 10 yards. The visitors did manage to manufacture a their only corner kick of the night with about 30 second remaining in the game but the Terps easily defended it and closed out the 2-0 win. The Terps will travel to Palo Alto to take on Denver in their second round game on Friday night.
Meanwhile, down in Blacksburg, the Maryland volleyball squad continued their hot play winning their fourth straight match beating Virginia Tech 3-1 and gaining a measure of revenge for a earlier 3-2 loss at home. In the first set, the teams traded points early but Tech was able to build a small advantage at 8-5. The Terps went on a three point run of their own led off by a kill from freshman Kelsey Hrebenach. The Hokies manage another small run to take a 12-10 lead but again the Terps would reel them back in After a Remy McBain kill tied the score at 13, Maryland built a 3 point lead of their own behind the serving of Amy Dion. The home team rallied themselves to even the score at 17 but with the set tied at 21 all, freshman Mackenzie Dagostino led Maryland on a 4-0 run that included two service aces to close out the set.
The Terps got off to another slow start in the second set falling behind 5-2 early on. But it was early and the team didn’t panic coming back to tie the score at 6 on McBain’s kill. Maryland took its first lead of the set at 8-7 off a kill by Mary Cushman and though the Hokies would tie the score at 9 and again at 12, they would not lead again in the set. With the score tied at 12, the Terps would rattle off five of the next six points to build a 17-13 lead. Tech would get no closer than two for the set and a kill by Ashleigh Crutcher gave the Terps the set at 25-19 and sending them into halftime with a 2-0 lead.
Virginia Tech came out of the locker room determined not to be the second consecutive victim of a Maryland sweep. Crutcher’s block gave the Terps their only lead on the set at 3-2 The home team was able to gradually pull away stretching its 9-8 lead to 14-10 then pulling away even further at 20-13 before finishing off the set with a comfortable 25-19 win.
Eleventh ranked Oklahoma out pointed fifteenth ranked Maryland 155.5 to 127.5 to take home the title in the Brockport Invitational. The Terps got wins from Shane Gentry at 125 pounds, Josh Asper at 174, Jimmy Sheptock at 184 and Christian Boley at 197 pounds. Geoffrey Alexander added a second place finish in the 133 pound class.