Oct. 11, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A tenacious effort propelled the 17th-ranked University of Maryland women's soccer team to a hard-fought 3-1 victory over No. 6 Virginia Tech Sunday evening at Ludwig Field.
The victory give the Terps a 10-2-1 record in 2009, marking the first time Maryland has reached the double-digit win plateau since 2003. The win also upped the Terrapins' conference record to 2-2-1. For the Hokies it was just their third loss in 13 games this year and their first loss in five conference outings.
"This is a good win for our program," said Maryland head coach Brian Pensky. "Virginia Tech came in playing very well and 4-0 in the ACC, so we knew it was going to be a big battle. There was a lot at stake and our kids competed hard. We did very well to get two goals in the first half and I'm very proud of our ability to bounce back after giving away a PK midway through the first half. Less than two minutes later we responded with the go-ahead goal, a great way to bounce back. And then we just tried to get after them in the second half. We didn't just want to kill off the game. We wanted to go after the third goal and we were able to get that and put the game away."
Playing on their home field for the first time since Sept. 18, the Terps jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the ninth minute of play. Sophomore Jasmyne Spencer, who's speed gave Virginia Tech fits all game, got off a hard shot on the Hokie goal. Tech goalkeeper Kristin Carden made the save but couldn't control the rebound, which bounced right to freshman Danielle Hubka. Hubka then one-timed the ball into the right side of the Hokie goal to put the Terps in front. Sophomore Lydia Hastings also earned an assist on the goal, giving her a team-best five on the season.
Virginia Tech seemed to have the tying goal several times, but senior All-ACC goalkeeper Mary Casey kept the Hokies off the board with a couple of terrific tip saves that just nicked the crossbar. But Casey couldn't keep Tech off the board in the 31st minute when a handball was called on Maryland inside its own 18-yard box, giving VT a penalty kick. Casey guessed left, but Jennifer Harvey shot the ball into the lower right corner, tying the game at 1-1.
But, as they have done all season long, the Terps responded quickly to a score and took the lead back for good less than two minutes later. Redshirt junior Mallory Baker played a long ball down the right side that looked to be heading for the VT end line and a goal kick, but Spencer had other ideas. She out-raced a Hokie defender and got to the ball a few yards from the end line. Spencer then made a quick move and crossed the ball into the Tech six-yard box. Sophomore Ashley Grove saw the run Spencer was making on the ball and raced for the VT box, putting herself in great position for Spencer's cross and finished it low into the right side of the Hokie goal.
The game went to halftime with the Terps holding a 2-1 lead and that's the way it stayed until the 68th minute. Maryland, which outshot the Hokies 7-4 in the second half, continued to pressure Virginia Tech looking for an insurance goal. The Terps got it thanks to sophomore Becky Kaplan's first-career goal. Sophomore Sade Ayinde, who was inserted into the game just moments earlier, fought off two Hokie defenders to tip the ball on into the Tech 18-yard box. That's when Kaplan made her run and beat her defender to the ball with space between herself and the Hokie goal. Kaplan was very patient with the ball and forced Cardin to commit to come off of her line, and when she did Kaplan finished simply into the left side for the 3-1 Maryland lead.
The defense, anchored by the backline of Baker, seniors Brittany Cummins and Megan Watson, and sophomore Skyy Anderson, held the potent Virginia Tech offense in check, not allowing a goal in the run of play. Maryland allowed VT just 12 shots in the run of play with only four of those being on net.
"Our defense has been good in so many ways," said Pensky. "We gave up two goals at Florida State, two at Miami, two at Virginia, but they have been outstanding. They compete so hard, very connected as a group. I'm proud of their effort, but it's not just the back four, it's a collective effort. Virginia Tech has a pretty potent offense and to hold them to no goals in the run of play is something to be proud of."
The victory over the sixth-ranked Hokies marks Maryland's first win over a Top-10 opponent since 2006 when the Terps topped No. 10 Tennessee in the season-opener.
Maryland will have another tough task in front of itself on Thursday, Oct. 15 when No. 7 Boston College comes to College Park. Opening kick for the Terps and Eagles is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Ludwig Field.