Nov. 21, 2009
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The University of Maryland women's soccer team's run in the NCAA tournament came to an end with a 1-0 loss to No. 1 seed North Carolina Saturday afternoon at Fetzer Field.
The lone goal of the game came in the 82nd minute when Carolina's Casey Nogueira finished a Jessica McDonald throw-in from 25 yards out.
The game was played at a frenetic pace from the opening whistle. Maryland's first chance came in the fourth minute when redshirt sophomore Mallory Baker popped a ball forward into the Tar Heel defensive third. Junior Caitlin McDowell ran on to it and sent it along to sophomore Jasmyne Spencer., who got off a shot that was blocked drawing a corner kick for the Terps.
The Terps continued their early pressure. McDowell intercepted a pass in the eighth minute that forced UNC to clear the ball out on the sideline. Maryland took advantage of the momentum a minute later when freshman Danielle Hubka crossed the ball into the Carolina six-yard box, but UNC goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris fought through a crowd to minimize the scoring chance.
The Tar Heels were willing to play at the near break-neck pace and had a terrific opportunity in the 11th minute. Courtney Jones took a pass from Nogueira in the Terrapin six-yard box and got off a clean shot, but senior goalkeeper Mary Casey recovered in time to make the save. The rebound bounced just outside the near post, but McDonald's header went wide of the goal.
The 15th minute saw the officials take a breakaway chance away from the Terps. Junior Molly Dreska intercepted a pass and played a simple ball to McDowell near midfield. McDowell looked up and sent the through for Spencer, who looked to be even with the defense when the ball was played, but the official said she was offsides and called the play dead.
The fast-and-furious action continued three minutes later. A flurry of activity inside the Maryland 18 saw McDonald get off a good shot that looked to be headed inside the far post, but senior defender Brittany Cummins was there to head the ball away to keep the game scoreless.
Casey kept the game that way in the 20th minute with a sliding save on a shot by Amber Brooks from just outside the 18-yard box.
The pace slowed down a bit as the game neared the 30-minute mark with both benches sending in reserves to try to keep fresh legs on the field.
Both teams got shots off in the 36th minute, but neither proved much of a threat. Nogueira's volley from the left side of the Terrapin six-yard box went wide of its mark and Dreska's shot from 30-yards out carried right of the Tar Heel goal.
As the half was drawing to a close the Tar Heels increased their pressure, trying to play balls through the Terrapin defense, but twice Casey came off of her line to intercept the ball before Carolina could get off a shot. That was enough to send the game into halftime knotted at 0-0.
Carolina had the first chance of the second half. A cross deflected off of McDowell for a UNC corner kick. The corner was headed out by Dreska, but Nogueira settled the ball at 25 yards out and ripped a shot, but it sailed wide right.
A scramble in front of the Maryland net in the 54th minute was a dangerous one for the Terps, but McDonald could not control the ball to get a clear shot and her attempt went wide left.
The 56th minute saw a ball go in the net for the Tar Heels and the Carolina faithful rose to their feet for a moment as Tobin Heath appeared to have finished a cross from McDonald inside the far post, but before the cross the ball went over the endline rendering the play dead.
The Tar Heels continued to amp up their pressure with the game entering the 60th minute. Jones dribbled into the Maryland 18 from the right side and got off a good shot, but Casey was in perfect position to make the save. A minute later Nogueira took a shot from just outside the 18 that went right of the Terrapin goal.
As the minutes ticked off in the second half both teams tried desperately to score the go-ahead goal, but each team's defense answered the challenge. But a designed short throw-in by McDownald, who is know for her dangerous long throw-ins into the box, to Nogueira gave the senior a clear shot from 25 yards and she placed in into the lower right corner for the 1-0 Carolina lead in the 82nd minute.
Maryland had one last chance in the 89th minute when Hubka earned a corner kick. McDowell sent the ball into the box from the left corner, but Sterling Smith headed the ball away ending the Terps' chance.
Casey finished the game with seven saves behind a Terrapin defense that played valiantly. Sophomore Becky Kaplan was given the task of marking UNC All-American Tobin Heath and Kaplan rose to the occasion holding Heath without a shot in the game.
The loss ends the Terps' season with a 14-6-2 record, the most victories for the program since 1996 when that team went 19-5-2. The loss also ended the Terrapin careers of four Maryland seniors: Casey, Cummins, Maureen Dowling and Megan Watson.