Nov. 2, 2012
CARY, N.C. - Becky Kaplan had a goal and an assist to lead the No. 2-seeded University of Maryland women's soccer team to a 2-0 victory over No. 3 seed Wake Forest in the semifinals of the ACC tournament at the WakeMed Soccer Park Friday night.
Maryland advances to the ACC championship game and will take on No. 5 Virginia, which defeated No. 1 seed Florida State, 4-2 in the first semifinal, at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4 at the WakeMed Soccer Park. The title game is set to be televised live on ESPNU.
"I am incredibly pleased with our team's performance tonight," said Maryland head coach Jonathan Morgan. "Our attack and team defending was as good as it's been all season. This was a total team effort. When we play together this team has shown it can play with anyone in the country and we will need that type of effort on Sunday against a very talented Virginia team."
Maryland got on the board in the fifth minute of play when senior Becky Kaplan played a ball through the Wake Forest backline and junior Hayley Brock was able to split a couple of defenders and finish into the right side of the net for the 1-0 Terrapin lead.
The Terps had a couple of quality chances in the 32nd minute, but couldn't get another tally on the board.
Kaplan drew a foul that gave senior Olivia Wagner a free kick from 30 yards out. Her attempt went into the Demon Deacon wall, but that resulted in a corner kick, which in turn led to another corner kick opportunity. That attempt by Wagner went to the far post for freshman Erika Nelson, but her header went wide of the right post.
Wake Forest played desperately as the first half came to a close, but Maryland's defense held strong to take the 1-0 lead into the half.
Redshirt freshman keeper Rachelle Beanlands made two saves in the final three minutes of the half. First she turned away an attempt by Kim Marshall and then made a diving save on a try from inside the six by Kristen Meier.
But the biggest defensive play of the first half belonged to senior Domenica Hodak. Wake's Katie Stengel sent a corner kick inside the near side of the six-yard box and Marshall did a good job separating from a Maryland defender and getting on the end of the corner. Marshall's header looked to be heading inside the near post, but Hodak held her spot and was there to deflect the ball away, preserving the Maryland lead as the clock ticked down to zero.
The second half started with a quality chance for Brock that was saved by Wake keeper Aubrey Bledsoe, but earned Maryland a corner. Wagner's service found freshman Riley Barger, but her header was saved by a Demon Deacon defender.
Maryland's pressure broke through, giving the Terps a two-goal lead in the 53rd minute. A Wake turnover gave Kaplan a breakaway and she slipped past Bledsoe, but her first shot went off the right post. Fortunately, the ball rebounded right back to Kaplan and she was able to finish into the empty net.
Wake Forest earned a corner kick in the 63rd minute and Marshall got on the end of Rachel Nuzzolese's service, but Marshall's header tipped off the crossbar and Maryland held onto its 2-0 lead.
The Terrapins looked to add to their lead in the 67th minute when sophomore Shade Pratt played a ball up the right side for Kaplan. She got by her defender and sent a centering pass into the 18, but Bledsoe was just able to beat Brock to the ball.
Kaplan had another opportunity, taking a nice feed from freshman Aubrey Baker on the left side. Kaplan got around her defender, but Bledsoe held tight to the near post and made the stop in the 70th minute.
Beanlands finished with two saves, while Bledsoe faced much greater pressure and ended the match with five stops.
Maryland's defensive core of Wagner, Hodak, Nelson, Pratt and freshman Shannon Collins limited the talented Demon Deacon offense to just three shots on goal.
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