Sept. 4, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Sophomore Ashley Grove scored the only goal of the game in the 35th minute to give the University of Maryland women's soccer team a thrilling 1-0 victory over No. 22 Santa Clara Friday evening at Ludwig Field.
The result extends the Terps' winning streak to five games, its longest unbeaten stretch since 1999 when Maryland won five straight from Oct. 6-17.
"This is a great win. I'm really happy for our team," said Maryland head coach Brian Pensky. "We knew coming it this was going to be a physical game against a tough, fast, well-coached Santa Clara team. We showed a lot of guts and a lot of courage and it feels great. We've told our team all week how good they are and how much they should believe in themselves, but it's not until you get a result like this against a ranked opponent, who has a very storied history, that you get real confidence. And I think right now this team has real confidence."
The game was a terrific display of soccer with both teams showing skill, tenacity, physicality and determination. Santa Clara out shot the Terps, 8-6, and the Bronco defense allowed just one shot on goal, but that's all it took for Maryland to get the victory.
Junior midfielder Caitlin McDowell found some space near midfield and dropped a pass in between the Bronco backline and their goalkeeper Bianca Henninger. Henninger came off her line to try to get the ball, but a bobble allowed sophomore Sade Ayinde the opportunity to collect the ball for the Terps. With Henninger out of the play Ayinde had only one defender between her and an open net, but instead of rushing s shot she slipped a simple ball to Grove who was streaking down the left flank. From there it was an easy finish for Grove, giving Maryland the 1-0 lead.
The Terps were up 1-0, but there was still 55 minutes left to play and the dangerous Bronco team wasn't going to go down without a fight. But the Terrapins were not about to let this one slip through their fingers.
The Maryland team showed heart and determination and not only played stellar defense, but also pressured the Broncos, looking for an insurance goal. Second-half shots were even at three apiece and Santa Clara only mustered one shot on goal in the final 45 minutes.
Senior goalkeeper Mary Casey showed the form that earned her first-team All-ACC honors last season. She made five saves in the game and was a vocal leader for the defense. Casey got tremendous support from her backline of seniors Brittany Cummins and Megan Watson, redshirt-sophomore Mallory Baker and sophomore Skyy Anderson.
Maryland takes its undefeated record on the road on Wednesday, Sept. 9, when it travels to play American. Opening kick for the Terps and the Eagles is set for 4 p.m. at Reeves Field.