Aug. 20, 2010
COLLEGE PARK, MD. - Junior Ashley Grove scored two goals and added an assist for a career-high five points to lead the No. 16 University of Maryland women's soccer team to a 6-0 season-opening victory over Iona Friday night at Ludwig Field.
Grove got things going early for the Terps, scoring her first goal in the game's second minute to give the Terps the 1-0 lead. Senior co-captain Caitlin McDowell sent a soft ball over the top of the Gael defense from her left back position, allowing Grove the chance to split two defenders and finish with a hard strike that went through Iona goalkeeper Jacquelyn Gates' hands.
Maryland upped its lead to 2-0 in the 13th minute on a terrific finish by Grove. Junior Amy O'Sullivan, who made her first career start in the match, started the play with a good through-ball down the right side to junior Lydia Hastings. The native of Rehoboth Beach, Del., ran onto the ball and sent a low cross into the Gael box where Grove finished it into the lower left corner.
The Terps were not done yet in the early minutes of the match, but this time it was Grove's turn to set up the goal. Junior Jasmyne Spencer, a preseason All-America selection by Soccer America, sent a nifty pass through traffic down the right side of the field to Grove. The Rochester, N.Y., native then sent a cross into the box that Gates looked to have a bead on. But the ball deflected off of Gates' hands and Hastings was waiting near the back post for the easy tap-in goal in the 15th minute.
"It's always nice to score early," said Maryland head coach Brian Pensky, who begins his sixth season at the helm of the Terrapin program, "and that's something that we struggled with last fall. And getting contributions from a number of kids is a real plus, and speaks to our depth."
Maryland's offense wasn't finished in the opening half, this time capitalizing on a set piece to take a 4-0 lead. A misplay by the Gaels gave the Terps a corner kick in the 33rd minute. McDowell played a short corner to Hastings, who dribbled toward the Iona goal before sending a ball into the box. Senior co-captain Molly Dreska worked free from defenders and got on the end of Hastings service and finished into the left side of the Gael goal.
With a tough game vs. Missouri looming on Sunday the Terps played mostly reserves in the second half, but that didn't matter for Maryland.
Sophomore Danielle Hubka, who has been limited in training due to minor injuries, came off the bench and made her presence felt right away. Junior Sade Ayinde saved the ball near the Terps' bench and sent a quick pass back toward the middle of the field. Hubka collected the ball, found some space and ripped a shot from 20 yards out, beating Gates to the lower right corner in the 47th minute.
Gates kept the Gaels in the game, making eight of her 11 saves in the second half, but even she couldn't stop sophomore Olivia Wagner from netting the Terps' sixth goal of the match in the 83rd minute. The ball bounced out of the Gaels' box toward the right side of the field. Wagner got a good run on the ball and drove a shot through the defense and past Gates before the keeper could even react.
Maryland got solid goalkeeping play of its own in the victory. Redshirt junior Yewande Balogun only had to make one save, but it was a good one, deflecting a free kick that looked to be headed into the upper right 90. Redshirt freshman Shannon Zickler played the final 15 minutes and made one stop.
The Terps return to action at Ludwig Field on Sunday at 11 a.m. vs. two-time defending Big 12 regular season champions Missouri.
"Sunday will be a big test for our group," said Pensky. "Missouri has a terrific program, consistently finishing at, or near the top of the Big 12. They are big, fast and love to attack, so we must be well-prepared."
Maryland is now 4-0-2 in six season openers under Pensky.
The Terps are 14-8-2 all-time in season openers.
Ashley Grove's five points is a career high and is the first time a Terp has had five points in a game since Sept. 1, 2009 when Sade Ayinde had five points vs. Loyola.
Lydia Hastings' goal in the 15th minute snapped a 22-game scoreless stretch. She last scored a goal on Oct. 30, 2008 vs. Clemson.
Caitlin McDowell's two assists gives her 14 for her career, tying her with Kelly Amonte for ninth place on the all-time assists list.
Hastings' two assists gives her 11 for her career, moving her into a six-way tie for 14th on the career assists list.