COLLEGE PARK, Md. – No. 2 Maryland advanced to its 12th College Cup in program history with a 3-1 victory over No. 10 Louisville in the quarterfinals of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship Saturday.
A raucous Ludwig Field crowd enjoyed goals from London Woodberry, Jake Pace and Patrick Mullins as the Terrapins (20-1-2) avenged last season’s NCAA tournament loss to the Cardinals (14-6-1). The Terps will face local rival Georgetown in the NCAA semifinals in Hoover, Ala., Friday at 5 p.m.
Maryland showed its intent in the opening 30 seconds of the match when freshman Schillo Tshuma’s bicycle kick attempt was punched over the bar by Louisville keeper Mike Mauro.
The Terrapins continued to pour on the pressure and Woodberry cashed in, scoring his third goal of the season off a Taylor Kemp cross in the 34th minute. The goal was the senior centerback’s first since he knocked in two tallies in a 3-2 win over College of Charleston on September 29.
Louisville struck back on the counter in the 40th minute. Zach Foxhoven got on the end of a Dylan Mares feed and put the ball past Maryland keeper Keith Cardona to even the contest.
Maryland took the lead into halftime after redshirt junior Pace weaved through the Cardinal defense and headed home aDakota Edwards cross into the far left corner.
The goal with 40 seconds remaining in the first stanza was Pace’s fifth of the season and gave the Terrapins a margin that reflected their first half dominance.
Maryland controlled most of the second half, but was unable to capitalize on a number of chances. Sunny Jane and Mullins both had point blank efforts saved by Mauro, who tallied five saves for the game.
Mullins, a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist, finally provided the Terps with a two-goal cushion in the 68th minute. The junior knocked in his team-leading 16th goal of the season off his own rebound after a scramble in front of the net following a solid Kemp serve from the sideline.
Maryland, led by the backline of Woodberry, Edwards, Kemp and Jordan Cyrus, protected its lead for the final 20 minutes to secure its 12th trip to the College Cup.
“We played a great game against one of the great teams in college soccer…against one of the most well-coached, skillful and determined teams in the country,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “This game had a lot of intrigue to it and our team came out with a hunger, a tenacity, a determination and a skillset that carried us through.
“I am delighted our seniors will have a chance to experience the College Cup. Every player that came here since 1994 has had a chance to play in the College Cup, and this set of seniors was not going to let that pass us by. They worked their butts off.”
The victory gave Maryland its fourth 20-win season in its history, all accomplished under Cirovski, who is in his 20th season in College Park.
The Terps, who are returning the College Cup for the first time since 2008 when they won their third national championship, will face the third-seeded Hoyas live on ESPNU.