Maryland's Hall Propels Terrapins Past North Carolina
Nov. 12, 2008
CARY, N.C. - Second-seeded Maryland combined an early goal with a stout defensive effort to blank seventh-seeded North Carolina 1-0 in the first quarterfinal match of the 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Soccer Championship on Wednesday afternoon at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
The Terps (16-3-2) moved on to Friday's 5:30 p.m. semifinal, where they will face the winner of the second quarterfinal matchup between third-seeded Boston College and sixth-seeded Clemson.
North Carolina (11-7-1) suffered its second near-miss against the nationally fifth-ranked Terps in less than a week. Maryland edged UNC 2-1 in last Friday's regular-season finale at College Park.
"I am very proud of how we played," Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski said. " It is difficult to play a team five days after beating them in the previous game with all the emotions and knowledge of what happened in that previous game. We played a good game."
The Tar Heels remain hopeful of an NCAA Tournament at-large bid, but Tar Heel coach Elmar Bolowich was disappointed to see his team make an early exit on Wednesday.
"It was a hard-fought contest," Bolowich said. "Maryland got the early goal and was able to hold on to that. I'm proud of our effort."
Maryland got the only goal it wound up needing just 13:31 into Wednesday's match. Rich Costanzo drew out UNC goalkeeper Briooks Haggerty before passing to teammate Jeremy Hall on the left side. Hall slammed home his 12th goal of the season from 7 yards out to put the Terps ahead.
UNC's Cameron Brown got a good look at a tying goal with just over seven minutes left in the half, but his 25-yard attempt hit the left post.
Maryland missed several prime chances to pad its lead in the opening minutes of the second half, including a shot by Jason Herrick that glanced off the left post and a close-range attempt by Casey Townsend on a break that was rejected by UNC's Haggerty.
Terps goalkeeper Zac Macmath responded with a clutch save of his own with 34:55 remaining in the match thwarting UNC forward Eddie Ababio's attempt from about 15 yards out on left. Brown got another good look with 19:47 left, but his shot soared high. And Brian Shriver saw Macmath reject his 30-yard free kick with just under 13 minutes remaining.
"We played much harder in the second half, but unfortunately we weren't able to capitalize on that," Bolowich said. "If you don't score, you don't win."
The Tar Heels wound up with a slight 9-7 edge in shots attempted, but Macmath's six saves kept the Terps ahead.
"Carolina is a very good team that keeps a lot of pressure on you," Cirovski said. "We could have made it easier on ourselves by finishing some of our chances, and UNC made some good saves that kept them in the game. These were two good teams and I am very happy with the result. I am ready to play on Friday."