Nov. 15, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - For the first time since 2004 the University of Maryland women's soccer team is in the Sweet 16 thanks to its 1-0 victory over Washington State Sunday afternoon at Ludwig Field.
"This feels great," said Maryland head coach Brian Pensky, who takes his Terps to the NCAA Sweet 16 in his first trip to the NCAA tournament. "I'm so happy for our players, our program and for everyone associated with it from our fans to our alumni to the university and administration. We've worked hard to get the program back to rebuild this program to get it to this level. So, this win today really means a lot.
"You could tell in the first 10-15 minutes of the game we were a little bit nervous, a little bit jittery, as expected being in uncharted territory for our players. But then we started to settle down, kept the ball a little bit, created three corner kick situations and I think it was a combination of that pressure that led to the goal."
Sophomore Jasmyne Spencer scored her team-leading 10th goal of the season in the 33rd minute to give the No. 4-seeded Terps the 1-0 lead and the defense held the Cougars off the board for the remaining 57 minutes.
Maryland is now 14-5-2 on the season, which marks the most for a Terrapin team since 1996 when that squad won a program-record 19 games and had an overall mark of 19-5-2.
The game's lone goal came off of a corner kick sent in from the left side by junior Caitlin McDowell. The ball was sent to the far post where senior Megan Watson got on the end of it and headed it for the far post. The ball hit off of a Cougar defender and bounced back toward the middle of the Washington State six-yard box. Junior Molly Dreska redirected the ball and it found Spencer, a first team All-ACC selection this season, who finished it inside the near post.
"It was actually a corner kick play that we just put in yesterday," said Pensky about the goal. "Jonathan Morgan was the one who organized this play. We used it a couple of years back, but hadn't revisited it and obviously it proved fruitful today. It was a great, great goal and then we held on in the second half."
The Cougars out-shot the Terps in the game 12-10, but senior goalkeeper Mary Casey made five saves to earn her ninth shutout of the season. The backline of Watson, senior Brittany Cummins, junior Colleen Deegan and redshirt sophomore Mallory Baker turned in a tremendous effort, limiting the Cougars to very few quality chances.
Maryland will meet a familiar opponent in the Sweet 16 in ACC rival North Carolina. The No. 1-seeded Tar Heels advanced with a 4-0 victory over Georgia in the second round. Maryland and UNC, two of seven ACC schools that made it through to the Sweet 16, will play at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21 at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill.
The last time Maryland made the Sweet 16 was 2004 when it defeated No. 2-overall seed Penn State on the Nittany Lions' home field in the second round to advance to play at Washington.