Towsend/Hall Combo Does The Trick, Terps Win 2-1 in OT
Terrapin freshman #7 Casey Towsend scored his 8th goal of the season on an overtime shot fed by Jeremy Hall that resulted in a 2-1 victory at Ludwig Field in College Park MD on October 14, 2008. Christopher Blunck/DC Sports Box
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- For the second time in a row at home, and for the seemingly 10th time this season, Terrapin freshman Casey Townsend put it together for the Terps in overtime as Maryland defeated Lehigh 2-1 at Ludwig Field. Scoring his 8th goal of the season, the 5'11" forward from Traverse City, Michigan combined with upperclassman Jeremy Hall for the netter in the closing 5 minutes of the first overtime to offer up Head Coach Sasho Cirovski a tally in the win column as a birthday present.

The Hall/Townsend combination has proved lethal this season for Terrapin opponents. No. 20 ranked Charlotte, who entered a contest against the Terrapins last week, saw how quickly they work together when the two connected 6 minutes into overtime for the 2-1 win.

Townsend's shot this evening came off a fast attack by Hall, who drew both Daniel Odenwelder and Adam Welch off their positions to stave off a shot. Employing some fancy footwork Hall reversed just inside the 18 yard box and knicked the ball off the back of his right foot while his back was towards his defenders. Townsend instinctively raced towards the ad-hoc pass and gave it a solid shot for the win.

Barely believing his fortune, the freshman ran towards the Lehigh bench to celebrate with his teammates on the field before returning to midfield to embrace Drew Yates, Jeremy Hall, and other upperclassmen. The Lehigh Moutain Hawks, having played remarkably well against the No. 6 ranked team in the country, fell to the ground in disbelief at the outcome.

Despite their win tonight, the Terps had to play catch-up to crawl out of a 1-0 deficit that formed early in the second half. After out-shooting the Mountain Hawks 13-3 in the first half, the Terps ran afoul of some unfortunate luck when freshman goalkeeper Zac MacMath failed to contain a shot by Patrick Cucci inside the 6 yard box 7:46 into the second half. Cucci shot and MacMath scooped up the remains but inadvertently dropped the ball, thus putting it back into play. Cucci wasted little time in connecting with a shot and burying the ball deep in the net as Sasho Cirovski pled his interference case with the linesmen.

The Terps ran into some favorable luck with 25 minutes remaining when Lehigh's Daniel Odenwelder was issued a red card. On a clearing attempt by Lehigh goalkeeper Jonathan Nydell, both Odenwelder and a Terrapin midfielder went up for the header. Whether it was intentional or inadvertent, Odenwelder took a swing at his Terrapin counterpart, drawing the ire of players on the field and more importantly, the head referee. Odenwelder was ejected from the game and the Lehigh bench was issued a yellow card shortly thereafter.

With a 1-man advantage the Terps looked to the cross inside the 18 yard box for the score and attempted several corner kicks in the closing 25. None were golden and it took the long legs of the 6'5" giant Omar Gonzalez to knot the game at 1 apiece. After a failed attack, the Lehigh defenders cleared the ball out to midfield where it was picked up by Drew Yates and Matt Kassel. Kassel elected to drive up the right wing and used some quick legs to elude his defender. Kassel crossed to Gonzalez for a beamer of a shot from 40 yards out. Gonzalez's shot bounced through a defender and deflected into the goal for the 1-1 tie.

The goal with 5:15 remaining in regulation allowed the fans in attendance to breathe a collective sigh of relief as Maryland rallied, fueled by the energy off the Gonzalez goal. There was a clear sign of a shift in momentum to favor the Terrapins and being up a man looking for the lethal blow in the closing 5 seemed favorable for the home team.

With Maryland's win this evening, the Terps advance to 10-3-0 overall and await the arrival of Evansville on Friday night at 7:30pm. After Friday's game the Terps have only a single remaining home game at Ludwig. It's against the formidable North Carolina Tar Heels on November 7th at 8pm.