Well the top seeded Maryland soccer team advanced to the ACC semifinals with a hard fought 2-1 win over a feisty and physical Virginia Tech team at Ludwig field Thursday night. The Terps came out aggressively with three shots – two on goal - in the first 8 minutes. Maryland kept up the pressure and Tech was called for an obvious foul in the box. John Stertzer blasted the penalty kick into the lower left corner giving the home team a 1-0 advantage.
The Hokies pressed the attack with a flurry of their own with Cardona able to easily make his first save of the night on a shot straight on from 30 yards. Maryland’s clear wasn’t effective though and VT had another shot that sailed high. The Terps left themselves a bit open to counters of this sort running their back line forward through much of the first half. The pressure paid off for Maryland when they earned their second corner of the half in the 18th minute but Kyle Roach’s header was cleared by the Tech defense. In the 25th minute Patrick Mullins had a good chance with a header from about 5 yards but was unable to get much on it and the VT goalie picked up the save. Before the half ended Maryland’s pressure generated two more shots and drew a yellow card but despite holding an 8-2 edge in shots, the Terps would only be able to take the one goal lead into halftime.
The lead wouldn’t hold up very long as VT drew a penalty shot of their own in the forty seventh minute and gained the equalizer just past a diving Keith Cardona. The Terps attacked back quickly and Patrick Mullins was able to knock in a header in the near post off a corner from Mikey Ambrose giving the Terps the lead back just 5 minutes later. The game would grow increasingly physical until a Hokie defender drew a red card in the 57th minute. With a one goal lead and a man advantage, Maryland was able to play patiently and choose their spots to attack though Virginia Tech did create two dangerous situations. The first came on an error by Cardona who cam out of the goal to challenge a great run by VT and failed to secure the ball. His defense was there to back him up and made a solid play to clear the ball out of the box. The game was played mainly in the midfield or the VT zone and Maryland punched 11 shots on goal and 22 shots for the game overall including a Christiano Francois shot in the 81st minute that hit the post. Tech’s second opportunity to tie the game came in the 88th minute off a good look from the top of the box that sailed just wide. The Terps will take on fourth seeded Clemson at 8:00 pm Friday night at the Maryland Soccerplex in Germantown.
In other news, the Terrapin field hockey team will begin its defense of it national championship when they take on Lafayette on Saturday in Storrs. As they did last year, Maryland enters the tournament unseeded. If they get past Lafayette, the Terps will face the winner of the game between Northeastern and the number 3 seeded host school UConn.