Three Unanswered Goals Give No. 1 Wake Forest Win Over No. 2 Terrapins
Terrapin defender #4 Omar Gonzalez and Wake Forest forward #9 Marcus Tracy compete with each other and driving rain at midfield during Maryland's 4-2 loss to Wake Forest at Ludwig Field in College Park MD on September 26, 2008. Christopher Blunck/DC Sports Box
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- In front of a record crowd of 6,500 at Ludwig Field, and a national audience tuned into Fox Soccer Channel, the Terps faced off against the top-ranked Deamon Deacons of Wake Forest under driving rain, strong winds, and the threat of lightning. Despite the Terrapins taking a 1-0 lead within the first minute of regulation, Wake Forest outlasted the Terps and used stifling defense in the midfield and aggressive offense in the attack zone to claim goals in the second half that the Terps could not match.

Ludwig Field was a mess on Friday evening after two solid days of rain. As the opening kick was made the dampness in the air and on the field was noticeable. Within 10 minutes of play in the first half the skies opened up and the downpour ensued. Announcements were made over the public address system informing fans in attendance that severe weather was headed in the direction of Ludwig Field and that a voluntary evacuation was underway. Few fans elected to head to safer ground and instead chose to stay and support the Terps.

After the game Maryland Head Coach Sasho Cirovski remarked "Our fans are outstanding. I want to thank them for their awesome commitment in spite of the weather."

Maryland's opening burst caught the Deacons off guard and ignited the fans. The 6,500 in attendance donned "WHITE OUT" shirts and the stands were united in their color and support of the home team. When Rodney Wallace crossed a pass in from the left side Jason Herrick played the ball off his head for a shot. Wake Forest keeper Aira Fitzgerald had little opportunity to get an angle on Herrick's header from 10 yards out. The RS sophomore lit up the stadium with his shot and the fans jumped up and down in celebration.

Wake Forest responded 7 minutes later with a breakaway by Sam Cronin up the middle. Cronin dished off to Macrus Tracy, who took a shot from the right side. Terrapin keeper Will Swaim didn't have a good angle on the shot and jumped up for it but failed to come down with the ball. Tracy's goal on Swaim was the first goal the sophomore gave up since Maryland's match against UCLA on August 29th.

Freshman Casey Townsend, who has been lethal this year against Terrapin opponents, found his mark with 28:52 remaining in the first half when he played a rebound off Wake's Akira Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald came up with a big save but failed to control the ball after his deflection. Townsend was there for the scoop up and recorded his fifth goal of the season, while giving the Terps a 2-1 lead.

Wake Forest wasn't quick to let the Terps maintain a lead and Ike Opara took advantage of a high ball close into the goal towards the end of the first half to knot the game at 2 apiece. Danny Wenzel set up the play by a quick bump off a free kick from midfield. Wenzel's bounce found Ike Opara inside the box and Opara's bump over Swaim's right shoulder brought the game to a 2-2 tie.

After halftime the Deacons struck quickly. Mike Lahoud sent in a cross to Austin da Luz. Da Luz saw Zack Schilawski breaking and forwarded in a quick chip pass to him. Schilawski blasted a shot that caught the defense (and Swaim) off guard.

Da Luz added the insurance goal 12 minutes later with a shot from inside the box. Marcus Tracy forwarded in the pass to da Luz, who took the shot and made it a 4-2 game.

Despite the loss Maryland Head Coach Sasho Cirovski had high praise for the competitors on the pitch this evening: "Wake is a great team. Tonight was a great event for college soccer." He was also pleased with Maryland's performance in the first half, remarking "I felt we played with the energy and execution necessary to be effective against Wake."

With their loss Maryland drops to 2-1 in the ACC and 6-2 overall. The Terps look to get back into the win column with a match on Tuesday evening against the Binghamton Bearcats at 7:30pm.