Defending champion UNC falls to surging Terps in ACC soccer final

News ServicesNovember 12, 2012 

  • 2012 ACC All-Tournament team Patrick Mullins, Maryland (MVP)Zach Carroll, VirginiaSchillo Tshuma, MarylandMike Lopez, North CarolinaJonathan Campbell, North CarolinaDakota Edwards, MarylandManolo Sanchez, ClemsonScott Goodwin, North CarolinaLondon Woodberry, MarylandJohn Stertzer, MarylandDanny Garcia, North Carolina

— Following a one-year absence, the Maryland Terrapins returned the ACC Men’s Soccer Championship trophy to College Park.

Playing before an enthusiastic crowd of 9,341 at the Maryland Soccerplex, the top-seeded Terps tallied a goal in each half to edge second-seeded and defending champion North Carolina, 2-1, in Sunday’s title match.

“What a great day for Maryland soccer and the state of Maryland,” Terps coach Sasho Cirovski exclaimed. “This was a fantastic atmosphere and this was one of the great moments in our soccer history because it’s the first ACC Championship we were able to win in the state of Maryland. I’ll cherish this one forever.”

Maryland (17-1-2) claimed its fifth ACC title since the league began determining its champion via tournament format in 1987. The championship was the third in five seasons for the Terps, who also prevailed in 2008 and 2010.

Maryland entered Sunday’s match as the nation’s second-ranked team, while the Tar Heels (15-3-2) entered ranked third. Both teams are hopeful of receiving No. 1 regional seeds when NCAA Championship pairings are announced Monday.

North Carolina coach Carlos Somoano did not hesitate when asked how hard it might be for his team to rebound from Sunday’s loss and focus on NCAA play.

“Not hard,” Somoano said. “We play every game to win, period. To say we would have been less motivated next week had we won today or more motivated because we lost is not the way we think. We’re going to be extremely motivated next week when we get to our NCAA game.”

The Terps struck just over 10 minutes into the match, when freshman Dakota Edwards scored his first career goal off a corner kick. Edwards connected off an assist from Dan Metzger, placing the ball into the low left corner of the net from two yards out.

The goal was the first allowed in over 480 minutes by UNC goalkeeper Scott Goodwin, who entered the match with five consecutive shutouts.

Maryland outshot the Tar Heels 6-1 in the first 45 minutes.

The Terps pushed their lead to 2-0 with just over 29 minutes remaining in the match, as Schillo Tshuma took a throw-in from fellow freshman Mikey Ambrose and fired in his eighth goal of the year.

It marked the first time since the 2011 NCAA Championship semifinals that North Carolina had allowed two goals in a match. UNC avoided the shutout Sunday when Rob Lovejoy put a shot from eight yards out into the top right corner of the net. Lovejoy scored in the 86th minute off assists from Jordan Gafa and Josh Rice.

“We set three goals this year,” said Maryland senior midfielder John Stertzer. “We wanted to be regular season ACC champs, tournament champs, and national champs, and so far we have reached two of our goals. I think as a senior, we are leaders on this team, it means a lot to us. But it was a whole team effort, it wasn’t just the senior. Everyone should be highlighted.”

Maryland junior Patrick Mullins, who scored the tying goal Friday in an eventual 2-1 double-overtime win against Clemson, was voted the 2012 ACC Championship Most Valuable Player. It capped a big weekend for Mullins, who was voted the ACC Offensive Player of the Year Thursday.

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