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Nov. 10, 2010
CARY, N.C. - Junior forward Casey Townsend delivered his third game-winning goal of the season early in the second half, and second-seeded Maryland edged seventh-seeded Clemson, 2-1, in the opening quarterfinal match of the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Soccer Championship.
With Wednesday's win at WakeMed Soccer Park, the Terps (15-2-1) moved on to Friday's 5:30 p.m. semifinal match, where they will face the Wake Forest-Virginia quarterfinal winner.
"The key for us today was to survive and advance," Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski said. "We know we have to be better Friday, and we will be."
With 34:27 remaining in the match, Townsend took a long pass into the box from Billy Cortes and headed home his seventh goal of the season and the 23rd of his career to give the Terps their 2-1 lead. Clemson goalkeeper Cody Mizell got his hands onto the shot, but the ball eluded his full grasp and found its way into the back of the net.
Both teams had scoring chances after that, but the 2-1 score stood up until the end.
"Some days you play very well and don't win, and some days you don't play very well and win, so we'll take the second of those today," Cirovski said. "We weren't as crisp as we wanted to be, (but) this is the first day game that we've played all year."
Clemson ended its season at 5-9-4.
"Maryland's a very good team," Clemson coach Mike Noonan said. "I give them a lot of credit. I think we helped them a little bit on both goals, but they're a very good team. I'm very proud of my kids, as they played hard."
Maryland got on the board with just under 37 minutes still remaining in the first half. Mizell deflected a header by the Terps' John Stertzer, but in the scramble that followed the ensuing corner kick, Cortes took a pass from teammate Paul Torres and sent home a straight-on shot from 16 yards out to give Maryland a 1-0 lead.
Clemson tied the match at the 26:38 mark of the opening half as senior midfielder Tommy Drake sent a cross from the right side, setting up sophomore forward Austin Savage's running close-range goal that made it 1-1.
Savage's goal wound up being the Tigers' only shot of the first half (to Maryland's eight), but the tie score held up until intermission.
"This Clemson team has gotten a lot better, and we knew they'd be a tough out in this tournament," Cirovski said. "We'll take the win, and we're thankful to move on."
Maryland is seeking its fifth ACC Championship title, and its fourth since Cirovski took over as head coach in 1993. The Terps last captured the championship in 2008, when they went on to win the NCAA title.
Men's Soccer Community Connections Representative from men's ACC soccer programs participated in a first-year league-wide initiative, "ACC Community Connections," earlier Wednesday morning. ACC student-athletes and representatives read the book For the Love of the Game by Pele to students at a local elementary school and talked about the importance of sportsmanship. Photos are attached.