Sept. 4, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Despite a Ludwig Field record crowd of 6,718, the No. 1/8 Maryland men's soccer team saw its 16-game winning streak snapped Friday night after two late goals by UCLA sparked the Bruins to a 2-0 win in the Terps' season opener.
No. 19/9 UCLA picked up scores in the 77th and 82nd minutes, while shutting Maryland out for the first time since August 31, 2008, when the Terps fell, 1-0, to California in Los Angeles. That was also the only other blemish on Terp starting goalie sophomore Zac MacMath's record until Friday night.
Maryland controlled the entirety of the first half and the majority of the second. The Terps outshot UCLA, 13-3, in the first period and 19-7 for the match.
Matt Kassel registered the first shot of the year when his free kick sailed just high of the post over a leaping UCLA keeper Brian Perk in the game's opening minutes. Doug Rodkey followed that with a floating kick of his own that also went high of the goal. Maryland continued to fire at the Bruins and got its closest shot at a lead when Jason Herrick's header off a perfectly-placed corner from Matt Kassel went just wide of the goal. Six minutes later, freshman defender Taylor Kemp advanced on the far sideline and launched a long drive at Perk that missed to the right.
UCLA picked up its first shot of the game when Michael Stephens broke loose from the backline but MacMath made a tremendous sliding save to keep the Bruins scoreless.
Maryland had another close call after Rodkey, who led the Terps with nine assists in 2008, crossed a ball to a charging Drew Yates in the center of the box with 23 minutes remaining in the half. Yates' drive went wide but Maryland continued have the upper hand offensively.
Ethan White, who joined Kemp as freshman starters in the Terps' refurbished backline, tallied his first shot in the Red and Black in the 27th minute. His header, which was set up by another solid Kassel serve, went wide of the post. The Terps had a bang-bang scoring opportunity two minutes later when Rodkey's header was stopped by a Bruin defender inches outside the goal line and rebounded to Kevin Tangney, whose solid strike nearly gave Maryland its first score.
Kassel provided Maryland with another quality scoring chance when his long serve from the midfield found a streaking John Stertzer on the far sideline with three minutes left in the half. Stertzer, one of four Terrapin freshmen to see their first playing time Friday, got a good look at goal but his shot also went just high over Perk.
UCLA ended the half with its most legitimate scoring opportunity of the first period when Dakota Collins brought MacMath out of the box but a steadfast Maryland defense batted it out.
Herrick opened the second stanza with a turnaround shot at goal, but his close-range strike went directly at Perk. With 17 minutes remaining in the contest, Yates passed a nice ball through to Casey Townsend but the sophomore's attempted tap-in was unsuccessful.
The Bruins picked up the game-winner with 13 minutes remaining after a Stephens corner kick caused a scramble at the box that was batted out by MacMath, but the ensuing header from Sean Alvarado passed a goal line stance attempt by Kaoru Forbess. UCLA followed with another score five minutes later when Ryan Hollingshead benefited from a rebounded save from MacMath.
"It's a bittersweet feeling knowing that we left points on the table and that we were the better side today," head coach Sasho Cirovski said. "The fans really made my night though. The atmosphere in here tonight was just amazing and I think they all know how much I appreciate them."
Friday's attendance surpasses last season's crowd of 6,500 that came out for the match against Wake Forest on Sept. 26. The loss to UCLA is the first for the reigning national champion Terrapins since being upset on the road by Clemson on Oct. 3 of last year.
Maryland will quickly switch its focus to another Pac-10 foe as it battles California at 7 p.m. on Sunday at Ludwig Field.