Nov. 18, 2011
STILLWATER, Okla. - Redshirt junior Becky Kaplan scored the lone goal in the University of Maryland women's soccer team's 1-0 victory over No. 3 seed Auburn to send the Terrapins to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
However, the joy of the victory did not prevent Maryland head coach Brian Pensky from understanding the significance of playing in Stillwater, Okla., on the campus of Oklahoma State after the Nov. 17 plane crash that killed two Cowboy women's basketball coaches.
"First off, on behalf of our soccer program, we are terribly sorry for the losses suffered here at Oklahoma State," said Pensky. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Cowboy family.
"I'm so proud of our kids. This was a difficult game - and really a tale of two halves with the wind. We felt that we'd be in a good position if we could get out of the first half without conceding a goal; and that was the case."
In the first half the Terrapins (12-5-4) had to not only battle the Tigers (15-7-2), but also a 20-plus mph wind going against them. Maryland managed to play small-ball to put together some opportunities, but could not get on the board. But neither could Auburn, which failed to manage the wind to its advantage.
The Terrapins had a great opportunity in the 53rd minute as redshirt-junior Becky Kaplan had a free run down the middle of the field into the 18-yard box. But Tiger keeper Amy Howard closed the distance and made the save.
The Terrapins finally got on the board in the 70th minute to take a 1-0 lead. Ayinde sent a ball to the left corner and senior Ashley Grove cross the ball to the far corner of the six. That's where Kaplan got on the end of it and finished the play into the right side of the Tiger goal.
"We scored a great goal - good build up, excellent cross and a composed finish," said Pensky. "We're very happy to be moving on."
Balogun finished the match with five saves, none of which were bigger than a diving one-hander in the 77th minute on a shot by Auburn's Tatiana Coleman.
Maryland will play its second Sweet 16 match in the past two years against the winner of the game between No. 2 seed Oklahoma State and Illinois. The Sweet 16 match is slated for a 2 p.m. EST start on Sunday, Nov. 20.