Nov. 1, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The No. 8 University of Maryland women's soccer team put up a valiant effort against No. 4 North Carolina, but the Tar Heels escaped Ludwig Field with a 1-0 victory Sunday afternoon.
The Terrapins finish the regular season with a 12-4-2 overall record and a 4-4-2 mark in the ACC. UNC ends the year with a 14-3-1 record and 7-3-0 in the conference.
Carolina, the defending NCAA champions, scored the lone goal of the game with one second remaining in the eighth minute. A corner kick, set up by a shot by Jessica McDonald, was sent into the box by Rachel Given. Maria Lubrano got on the end of it near the far side of the Maryland six-yard box and headed it into inside the far post for the 1-0 lead.
Maryland's defense was stout throughout the game. Senior goalkeeper Mary Casey, playing in her final regular season game at Ludwig Field, along with fellow seniors Brittany Cummins, Maureen Dowling and Megan Watson, set her career high with nine saves. Overall the Terps stopped 10 of UNC's 11 shots on goal with Dowling stopping a shot by Carolina's Amber Brooks in the 29th minute.
The Terrapins' offense pressured the Tar Heels when the opportunity presented itself and Maryland had several chances at the game-tying goal. In the 61st minute sophomore Jasmyne Spencer outraced the Tar Heel defense to a ball in the far left corner of the UNC defensive zone and got off a good cross into the Carolina 18. Junior Caitlin McDowell, realizing she was not in position to take a shot, redirected the pass on to junior Molly Dreska who ripped a shot, but Tar Heel goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris got just enough of the ball to tip it over the crossbar and keep the Terps off the board.
The game was not without a touch of controversy. A trio of substitutions by North Carolina in the 75th minute left the Tar Heels with 12 players on the field for a couple of minutes. Unfortunately for the Terps the mistake was noticed by the officials and play was whistled dead with Spencer on a breakaway and a one-on-one opportunity with Harris.
"Unfortunately, giving up the early goal left us chasing the game," said Maryland head coach Brian Pensky. "But we played hard, and put ourselves in a position to tie the game on several occasions. Our kids leave this game holding their heads high. We're a great team, and we're proud of our season's body of work. Now the fun part begins. We've set the table for success in the post-season, and our kids are ready for just that."
That postseason begins on Wednesday, Nov. 4 in the first round of the ACC Tournament. Official seeds, pairings and game times are will be announced by the conference following a Monday morning conference call.