Seniors Take Spotlight in Fifth-Ranked Terps Win Against UNC Friday

Nov. 7, 2008

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The fifth-ranked Maryland men's soccer team won its eighth consecutive game Friday, defeating No. 20 North Carolina, 2-1, on Senior Night at Ludwig Field in ACC men's soccer action.

Drew Yates, who started in place of Jason Herrick on Friday night, was the key component in Maryland's first offensive drive when he challenged UNC's Ryan Adeleye in the middle of the field in the game's 12th minute and had a near breakaway before the Tar Heel defense managed to catch up and keep the Terps off the board. Maryland found itself in unfamiliar territory when North Carolina's Cameron Brown scored the first goal in the contest. The Terps have scored first in 13 games this season, including four straight outings.

Yates got some redemption at the 28:46 mark when Jeremy Hall and Casey Townsend fed the junior a ball 15-yards out which he blasted past UNC's keeper Jacob Wescoe to tie up the score. The goal was Yates first of the season.

Enter the Terrapin seniors.

Four-year veteran Graham Zusi picked up his third goal of the year in the 35th minute when he caught a pass from fellow classmate A.J. Delagarza and freshman Matt Oduaran to give Maryland a one-goal cushion. For Delagarza, a defender, it was his second career assist in a Terrapin uniform.

Maryland intensified its offensive efforts coming out of the locker room for the second half, doubling its shot output in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Tar Heel keeper Brooks Haggerty, who replaced Wescoe in the second period, was put to work immediately, making a tremendous save on a Casey Townsend breakaway with a little over 30 minutes remaining in the game. Townsend fired again on a similar play two minutes later, but his shot went wide of the goal. Rodney Wallace nearly gave the Terps another score with eight minutes remaining when his header off a Matt Kassel free kick hit the cross bar. But the Maryland defense held steadfast once again, limiting its opponent to one goal or less for the eighth straight game after surrendering five goals at Clemson Oct. 3.

The Maryland senior class - Delagaraza, Zusi, Aaron Chinn, Michael Marchiano and Rich Costanzo - is now 60-18-8 overall and a phenomenal 41-5-6 at Ludwig Field. The Terps conclude the regular season with a 15-3-0 slate.

"This was a particularly satisfying win because it came on Senior Night," head coach Sasho Cirovski said. "The fact that a senior, Graham Zusi, scored the game-winner was an added bonus. Tonight was a battle...UNC came to play and they played with commitment and a lot of skill."

By the looks of the standings, Maryland is not done with the Tar Heels this season. The Terps, a No. 2 seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament, will likely face UNC, the seventh-seed, in the quarterfinals on Wednesday in Cary, N.C. The official ACC Tournament bracket will be available on Monday.