Men's team drops two
AU Men's Soccer scored the first goal Maryland has conceded this season on Sunday. But it wasn't enough to uproot the No. 1 Terps, who dismissed AU 2-1 in the Maryland/Adidas classic at College Park.
Maryland seized an early 2-0 lead on goals in the 25th minute. AU didn't quit, and kept the deficit at two goals before junior Andrew Herman scored in the 70th minute. The Eagles continued to press, but couldn't find an equalizer.
"The difference today was that we gave them both goals," said frustrated AU coach Todd West. "They're very talented and you can't give them anything, but twice we gave the ball away in our own half, and they scored both times."
"Honestly, I expected a little more from what's ranked the No. 1 team in the country," West said. "I'm not saying we should have won the game, but if we don't make those mistakes, maybe we win a game we don't deserve to."
In front of 1,402, Maryland dominated the match's early minutes. And A.J. Herrera, who started both Maryland goals, made sure the Terps were rewarded for their early ambition.
AU's best first half chances came late, and were created by midfielder freshman Sal Caccavale.
On 41 minutes, Caccavale sent midfielder junior Peter Philipakos down the left wing, who found space enough to whip a cross into the box for midfielder junior Shawn Kuykendall. Kuykendall did well to reach the cross, but couldn't hit the target with his header.
A minute later, Caccavale was on the right side,and found Herman streaking in toward goal with a brilliant 40-yard lob. But Herman's shot possessed too little power to trouble Maryland 'keeper Noah Palmer, and the Terps went into half-time up 2-0.
"We could've been down 2-1 instead of 2-0," Herman said. "Then maybe we would've been able to pull it out."
After a rough start to the second half, AU started to gain possession and create chances. The Terps kept the lead, but struggled in defending crosses from Kuykendall and Philipakos.
"I thought they panicked a little when we started whipping balls into the box," West said. "For a veteran team, they maybe should've handled it better."
AU got a goal back when their increased pressure led to a throw-in down the left touchline, deep in the Maryland end. Senior midfielder Brett Niebling threw to Kuykendall, who settled and then found Niebling again in some space down the wing. Niebling then sent a high cross over the near post run of Nigel White, finding Herman unmarked on the far corner of the 6-yard box. Herman finished decisively past Palmer on his second touch.
"Nigel made a good run and the ball slipped through," said Herman of the goal. "It was a little lucky that it got to me, but their goals were somewhat lucky too. A good goal is a lucky goal."
AU pushed to equalize in the final 20 minutes, but the best chance in that time was Maryland's. Maryland forward and former AU star Nino Marcantonio got onto a long-ball behind the entire AU defense in the 83rd minute. AU back Charlie Koniver tried to recover, and ended up pulling Marcantonio to the ground. Koniver was booked, lucky to be one of seven players who got yellow cards in the game instead of being sent off.
AU travels to Norfolk to play Old Dominion and Washington and Lee on Friday and Sunday in the Stihl Classic next weekend.
Despite Sunday's loss, Koniver and Kuykendall were named to the Maryland/Adidas Classic All-Tournament team.