Nov. 20, 2011
STILLWATER, Okla. - An early goal was the deciding factor in the University of Maryland women's soccer team's 1-0 loss at No. 2 seed Oklahoma State in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament Sunday afternoon at the Cowgirl Soccer Complex.
The Cowgirls (22-1-2) took an early 1-0 lead in the fourth minute of play when a routine throw-in deep in the Maryland zone turned into a shot by Annika Niemeier that tricked into the Terrapin net off the hands of senior goalkeeper Yewande Balogun.
Maryland had a prime opportunity to tie the match in the seventh minute when junior Danielle Hubka was hauled down inside the box, giving the Terps a penalty kick. But, senior Ashley Grove's PK attempt to the right post was turned aside by OSU goalkeeper Adrianna Franch to keep it a 1-0 Cowgirl lead.
Oklahoma State tried to add on to its lead in the 34th minute, but Balogun made two terrific saves on shots by Krista Lopez and Sarah Brown, respectively, to keep it a one-goal game.
Balogun came up big again early in the second half, tipping a rocket off the foot of Lopez in the 52nd minute.
Senior Lydia Hastings nearly tied the match in the 72nd minute on a shot from distance on the left side, but her attempt just barely went over the crossbar.
Balogun made another terrific play in the 79th minute when OSU's Megan Marchesano had a breakaway as the Terrapins were pressing forward. Marchesano dribbled toward the 18 and Balogun came way off of her line to meet her. Balogun made a great read on the ball and knocked it away before Marchesano could get off a shot.
Maryland continued to press forward as the clock wound down, but the Terrapins were unable to get the equalizer.
"This is disappointing and very difficult for our kids right now," said Maryland head coach Brian Pensky. "When you lose in the NCAA tournament it's over and especially difficult for our seniors. The finality is piercing and none of us were prepared for our season or college careers to end today. So, we're all a bit shocked and very disappointed.
"But again, I'm so proud of our players and what this group has accomplished during their time at Maryland. Reaching the Sweet 16 in two of the past three years, as well as bring a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, is a lot to feel good about. But, for now, it's hard to have that perspective. Hopefully, in time, our seniors can look back when the sting of this loss subsides and they can feel proud of their accomplishments."
The Terrapins finish their season with a mark of 12-6-4. The loss marked the end of their collegiate careers for 11 Maryland seniors: Skyy Anderson, Sade Ayinde, Mallory Baker, Yewande Balogun, Annesia Faulkner, Ashley Grove, Lydia Hastings, Kristen McAfee, Ariel Nehemiah, Amy O'Sullivan and Jasmyne Spencer.