Oct. 27, 2011
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Senior Night ended with a bang as the No. 16 University of Maryland women's soccer team pulled out a come-from-behind 2-1 victory in overtime over No. 8 North Carolina Thursday night at Ludwig Field in front of 2,126.
"What a great win," said Maryland head coach Brian Pensky. "We've talked all week about adversity and fighting through adversity and staying together and we certainly saw that tonight. We've been through a rough few weeks, which has caused everyone's belief to be in question, but we're good and we need to know we're good. And, as we continue on with out season we need to maintain that belief."
Junior Becky Kaplan scored the biggest goal of her career, and arguably one of the biggest goals in Ludwig Field history, in the 98th minute to give the Terrapins their first-ever victory over the Tar Heels in College Park.
Junior Megan Gibbons started the play on the left side by sending a ball into the midfield to senior Sade Ayinde, who scored both goals in last season's 2-1 victory over UNC in Chapel Hill, N.C. Ayinde then played a perfect pass to Kaplan's feet and Kaplan was able to finish into the lower left corner of the Carolina goal, getting the ball inside the left post just out of reach of Tar Heel keeper Anna Sieloff.
North Carolina controlled much of the first half and took a 1-0 lead into halftime thanks to a goal by Courtney Jones in the 15th minute. An inadvertent handball gave the Tar Heels a free kick from just outside the Terrapin 18-yard box. Amber Brooks punched the ball into the box where Jone was able to head it into the left side with just enough on it to get it past Maryland senior keeper Yewande Balogun.
Carolina held that 1-0 lead until the 87th minute. That's when sophomore Hayley Brock picked the ball cleanly from a Tar Heel defender in the UNC half of the field. Brock then took a couple of dribbles before finishing into the lower left corner from just outside the 18-yard box.
Balogun finished the match with five saves, but she was helped out by two huge team saves. The first came from senior Annesia Faulkner on a shot by Brooks in the eighth minute and the second was by Gibbons on a shot by Crystal Dunn in the 24th minute of play.
The match marked the final regular season home game for 11 Maryland seniors: Skyy Anderson, Ayinde, Balogun, Mallory Baker, Faulkner, Ashley Grove, Lydia Hastings, Kristen McAfee, Ariel Nehemiah, Amy O'Sullivan and Jasmyne Spencer.
"For our 11 seniors - what a way for them to go out at Ludwig Field," said Pensky. "This group has accomplished a lot over the past few years and we're happy for them that they will have this memory for quite some time.
The victory gives the Terrapins a final regular-season record of 10-4-4 and a conference record of 4-4-2. Maryland now enters the ACC tournament as the No. 7 seed and will play at No. 2 seed Virginia Sunday at 1 p.m. at Klӧckner Stadium.
"We have the night to enjoy this," said Pensky. "Then we need to look forward to Sunday's challenge. Virginia handled up pretty good six weeks ago and they are a very good team. So, as is the norm in this league, another tall challenge awaits us."