Three Sports in One - Volleyball, Women's Soccer, and Mens Soccer

The threes are making me dizzy tonight. I'm writing about three sports and there are lots of threes to go around.

When you cover four sports that are often playing simultaneously you have to make choices. Tonight I chose to cover Maryland's volleyball opener at George Washington. I had my friend Harry leaving me voice mail reports about the women's soccer game and the men's soccer match is in progress as I start writing so I will get to them all in one article (because football opens later today as I finish this). But for now, I'll start with volleyball.

Faced with the sudden late summer departure of sophomore setter Mackenzie Dagostino and injuries to sophomore Kaitlyn King and freshman Whitney Craigo, Coach Tim Horsmon pressed walk on freshman Julia Anderson into starting as the setter joined by sophomore Amy Dion who had never played the position. It didn't seem like the best recipe for success and when Anderson launched the first serve of the match several feet beyond the baseline it looked like the Terps could be in for a long night. But appearances can be deceiving.

The host Colonials took advantage of the service error and quickly opened a 2-0 lead but junior middle blocker Catie Coyle quickly stopped that momentum with Anderson picking up the first of her team high 22 assists for the night. Neither team could build much momentum with GW taking the largest lead of the set at 6-3. The Terps rallied to tie the score at six but, in a pattern that repeated frequently, couldn't quite get their noses in front. They tied the game at seven and again at ten. The Colonials eventually edged out to a second three goal margin at 14-11 but Maryland rallied with three straight to knot things up at fourteen before the Colonials ended run. The teams continued to trade scores until GW pulled ahead 18-16. Though the Terps came back again to tie the score at twenty, GW was able to get to a set point at 24-22 and had the serve. After a Maryland timeout, the Terps broke serve and Horsmon inserted Dani Bozzini into the game for the first time. The sophomore responded with back to back service aces giving the Terps their first lead and a set point. But it wouldn't be quite that easy as a GW kill after a timeout tied the score at twenty-five. Ashleigh Crutcher's kill gave Maryland another set point but the Terps sixth service error of the set put the Colonials right back into it. After staving off another GW set point, the Terps closed out the set on an ace from Crutcher.

The second set began as a mirror of the first with Maryland jumping out to a 2-0 lead and George Washington scratching to stay in range. After the longest rally of the match with both teams making spectacular digs, the Terps opened up a 5-2 lead. The Colonials didn't bounce right back with three straight as Maryland had in the first set but they did tie the score at seven. The Terps ran off four of the next five points to go up by an 11-8 margin but the Colonials reeled them back in and tied the score at twelve. In this set it was GW that was working from behind unable to edge in front until late in the set. Finally, following a kill by Adreenee Elliott that tied the score at nineteen, Crutcher stepped up to serve and the Terrapins ran off five straight to take a 24-19 and reach set point. GW held off two set points but a kill from Elliott into a hole in the center of the Colonials defense wrapped the set at 25-21.

After the break, the Terps came firing out of the locker room and quickly took a 2-0 lead. Though the Colonials would tie the score at two, three, and four, this was a close as they would get. Maryland put the pedal to the metal going on a 10-2 run to take a 14-7 lead that effectively salted away the set and the match. The Terps eventually stretched the lead to 20-10 and the Colonials attempted to rally but could come no closer than six and Maryland closed out the straight set three -to nothing win by a 25-18 final.

After the match, Coach Horsmon said, "We're finally getting some maturity in our program. The upper classmen really stepped it up and played well tonight. And I can't say enough about the play of Amy who has never set before and finished with 16 assists and Julia who stepped in to her first college game and led the team with twenty-two.

The Terps will close out their opening weekend at the George Washington invitational with matches against Ole Miss at noon and UMBC at five. (I'll be at the football game but have folks in place to report on the match for me.)

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Meanwhile, in College Park, the women's soccer team took on another area George, the George Mason Patriots and threes and zeroes were the numbers of the night. The Terps improved their season record to 3-0 as they defeated the Patriots by an identical 3-0 score.

The Terps got the scoring started early in the second minute as sharp passing pulled the Mason keeper out of the net and Shannon Collins hit Haley Brock with a pass and Brock crossed a pass from the left to Riley Barger who easily knocked it into the open net.

Maryland's second score also came early as early season freshman sensation Lauren Berman made a steal in the midfield and slotted a pass to Brock who finished the one on one with her fifth goal of the young campaign. Mason showed some fight earning a corner in the tenth minute and launching what proved to be their only shot of the half - a header that Maryland keeper Rachelle Beanlands saved.

The Terps continued to pressure Mason with Ashley Spivey getting off two shots on goal in the eleventh and fifteenth minutes. In all, Maryland finished the half with a 9-1 margin in shots and a 2-0 edge on the scoreboard.

The second half was much of the same with the Terrapins constantly pushing forward and developing opportunities. The Terps had four corner kicks in the first four and a half minutes of the second half. Spivey and Berman each had shots that hit the crossbar in the fifty-third and fifty seventh minutes respectively. Despite all these efforts, the Terps couldn't break through until the eightieth minute when Shannon Collins redirected Cory Ryan's free kick and Lauren Berman toed it in. By game's end, Maryland had outshot George Mason 22-3, had eight corners to Mason's one, and most importantly three goals to the Patriots none. The Terps look to continue their strong play when they face off against Navy at Ludwig Field at 7:00 pm Sunday night.

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Finally, as I started this column things were not looking good for the men's soccer team as they opened their season out on the west coast taking on the Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto. When I came in to begin writing Maryland trailed 2-0 in an exceedingly rough game that would feature 53 fouls - 42 of which were whistled against Stanford. Stanford's first goal came in eighth minute off the foot of Terrapin freshman defender Alex Crognale. The Cardinal scored again with just over nine minutes to go in the half. However, a Stanford foul in the forty first minute gave Mike Ambrose a free kick and Patrick Mullins scored on a header to pull the Terps within one.

Maryland tied the score in the fifty fifth minute when Sunny Jane's corner kick found Schillo Tshuma's head and the ball found the back of the net in the far corner. Stanford recaptured the lead in the sixtieth minute on a rush down the field and finish from twelve yards. Stanford had an opportunity to put the game away on a penalty kick  in the 86th minute but J J Koval's shot hit the crossbar. Less than a minute later another set piece pulled the Terps even. With just over four minutes to play. This time it was Tsubasa Endoh's pass that found Jake Pace's head tying the score at three. Tied at three the score would remain through the balance of regulation, and the first overtime. Maryland had some reason to hope for a win as Stanford's Brian Nana-Sinkam received a red card with thirty seconds to play in the first overtime. Despite earning four corner kicks, the Terps failed to capitalize and will have to move on to face the Cal Berkley Bears on Sunday after a hard earned three to three tie with Stanford.

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