The Maryland Terrapins’ hopes for a second straight ACC tournament Title were dashed shockingly, as the Boston College Eagles upset the Terps 2-1 in the first round of the tournament Tuesday evening.
The #2 seeded Terps, who hosted at Ludwig Field, continued their offensive woes, highlighted by an abysmal first half on both sides of the ball. Maryland found themselves down 2-0 for the first time all season after a series of defensive lapses in the first 20 minutes.
Boston College (13-5-0) capitalized on poor defensive clearing in the 13th minute after a shot by #17 Charlie Rugg came off the post, only to be rebounded by #15 Deigo Medina-Mendez from six yards out that finished deep into the net past a diving Will Swaim.
Four minutes later, in the 17th, Rugg made up for his earlier miss after settling the ball at midfield and bolted up the middle. Terps defenders couldn’t contest the shot in time as Swaim came to meet him. Rugg calmly chipped the shot to the far post from 12 yards out to give BC the 2-0 lead.
Maryland’s attack continued their anemic pace and looked out of sync with sloppy passes and miscommunication. What made matters worse was that John Stertzer, the team’s leading scorer and only offensive weapon as of late, was forced to sit out after accumulating five yellow cards.
“For whatever reason,” Sasho Cirovski said. “There seems to be some sort of veil in front of the goal that doesn’t seem to be able to be penetrated at the moment.” Maryland has attempted 53 shots in the past two games, but has only scored twice.
The Terps (13-3-3) did offer glimmers of hope throughout the second after Casey Townsend ended a month long scoring drought in the 47th minute to pull the Terps within one. Jereme Raley sent a short cross from the right side of the box to an open Townsend who flicked the ball past Eagles keeper Justin Luthy. It was his 13th goal of the year.
The defending ACC Champions battled ferociously in the second half coming close time and time again, but simply could not find the back of the net.
Credit must be given to the Eagles defense and Luthy, who were burned 4-0 by the Terps two months earlier. Outside of Townsend goal Luthy played outstanding between the posts, snatching up every ball within arm’s length. They handled the second half Maryland onslaught of 12 shots perfectly.
“Everything went for us,” said BC head coach Ed Kelly. “The last time we were here we lost four nothing, and actually forced us to change our system, so it was good we got beaten like that.”
While Maryland might have made the Eagles better in that win, the Terps’ fall has been perplexing. The Terrapins have not gone four matches without a win since the 2004 season. A team that started blazingly hot in the first two-thirds of the season now finds themselves limping into the NCAA’s.
“I’m very concerned,” said Cirovski on his team’s position moving forward. “It’s things that are fixable…We are deeply disappointed because we wanted to win both the ACC regular season and tournament championship, but we all know that when it’s all said and done its where you finish in the NCAA Tournament that is the number one goal.”
As the Terps’ loss had sunk in for a few seconds, Ludwig Field remained painfully quiet; it was the realization that this isn’t the same team that had the Maryland faithful envisioning a national title, it’s just a team struggling to find their scoring touch and get back to where they once were.
Player of the Game: Just going with the only person to score in this game, Casey Townsend. No one stood out, but Townsend deserves some recognition for finally breaking his scoring drought. He led the team with five shots and came close to scoring at least twice more. Hopefully this score kicks off one last scoring binge for the senior before he must take off those Maryland colors for good.