November 25, 2008
By David Driver
For the News & Messenger
Used with permission
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — On a chilly, windy night at the University of Maryland, several red-clad Terp fans stayed warm behind the goal at the south end of Ludwig Field.
That is because those fans, seated just above George Mason goalie Sean Kelley, rose to their feet with less than three minutes left in the first half when Maryland’s Graham Zusi scored on a close-range header to the near post to give the Terps a 2-0 lead.
That goal, which came 21 minutes after a goal by Maryland’s Casey Townsend, was more than enough security Tuesday as the Atlantic Coast Conference champions defeated Mason 2-0 in the second round of the NCAA men’s soccer tournament before a crowd of 2,064.
“The second goal, right before halftime, took the wind out of their sails,” Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski said.
Mason ended the year 14-7-2, the most wins since 1996 when the school also advanced to the second round of the NCAA field. Second-seed Maryland, now 19-3-0 with 12 straight wins, outshot Mason 10-2 in the first half and 19-4 overall.
“The turnaround we had is remarkable and we have a lot to be proud of,” said Ma son head coach Greg Andrulis, whose team was 6-6-2 in late October.
“We were peaking at the right time,” Mason freshman midfielder Ryan Garcia. “It was tough to end (the season) the way we did” with the loss at Maryland.
Mason senior defender Michael Vallie, who played six games for Maryland when it won the national title in 2005, saw his career end where it began.
“It is ironic to end my season here,” said Vallie, who transferred to Mason for his last three seasons.
Mason senior standout Kwame Adjeman-Pamboe, an all-CAA performer who led the league in points, left the game with a leg injury late in the first half just before Maryland scored its second goal.
Adjeman-Pamboe, from nearby Bowie, Md., returned to the contest with about 34:00 left in the second half but was held scoreless after tallying eight goals and five assists in the previous eight matches.
“It was disappointing,” Adjeman-Pamboe said.
Andrulis noted Adjeman-Pamboe has battled leg problems for several games. “You didn’t see him at his best, unfortunately,” Andrulis said.
It was the first time since 1986 that the two teams met in the NCAA tourney. Mason won that game, 2-1, in overtime in the first round.
Maryland is slated to host a third-round game Saturday at 1 p.m. against the winner of a west coast Tuesday night game between Califo rnia and UC-Santa Barbara.
NOTES: The last meeting between the teams was in regular-season play in 2007 when Maryland won at home 3-0 … Mason was the CAA champs this season and beat Penn at home Friday in the first round of the tourney … Maryland junior Tyler Mishalow is from Robinson High School in Fairfax … Mason is now 5-8-1 against the Terps.