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When it was over the score was 4-0. The Terps outshot the visiting Stanford Cardinals 10-2. All-ACC forward Casey Townsend netted two goals on two shots. His frontline partner, the sophomore sensation Patrick Mullins had one goal after attempting five shots. The Cardinals were beaten, physically outmatched and mentally lost.
All after the final seconds of the first half.
The #4 Terps (3-0) buzz sawed their Pac-10 foes on national television, starting right out of the gate with a sensational score from Patrick Mullins 22 seconds into the game. Fellow sophomore John Stertzer gave a beautiful pass up the middle to Mullins, who outmuscled his defender for a clean shot into the right side of the goal from 18 yards.
A packed Ludwig Field of 7,178 fans, the second most all-time, witnessed the Terps first first half goal of the season, essentially bucking the notion that defined this team as strictly as a second half team.
“That was one of the better first halves I’ve been a part of, I think it really got the other team on their heels,” said Townsend, who scored in the 9th and 29th minute. “That first goal 22 seconds really took a lot of that team and I think that might have been the key tonight.”
Stanford (0-2) was never was able to recover, allowing four goals over the first 30 minutes of play. Their defense allowed deep runs consistently and was beat badly on the Mullins and Townsend goals. The attack was anemic as expected, rarely making a run at Will Swaim. The Cardinals were outshot 15-5.
Admittedly, Stanford locked down against the Terps in the second half, limiting them to five shots and dominating the ball more on the offensive side of the ball. But it was a little too late against a streaking Terps squad.
And yet their dominance wasn’t the story of the night, it was when they did: the first half.
To see the Terrapins come out so aggressive and be so successful in something they have struggled with is a sign of the strides this team is making. Growing pains were expected for a team losing so much experience but the squad has made us feel like we are still seeing a 2010 team.
“It’s taken a little work but I feel like we’re getting better and better each game and that goes with everyone around us,” said Mullins. “As time goes on we’ll get better and better with the relationships on the field.”
Maryland now moves onto Radford for a Sunday night matchup Sept. 4
Player of the Game: I know Townsend scored twice and now is tied for the lead in goals for the team but Mullins gets the nod. His opening goal was a thing of beauty that sent the crowd crazy and set the tone of the game. He also had a pretty dish to Townsend for his second goal. He also led the team with five shot attempts.