[NCAA DIVISION I MEN]Goals by Casey Townsend and Drew Yates three minutes apart in the first round propelled defending champion Maryland to a 2-1 win over Loyola (Md.) Thursday night in NCAA Men's Tournament action at Ludwig Field.
Maryland, which entered this year's postseason unseeded for the first time since 2001, mustered 13 shots in the first half alone, including six within a four-minute stretch.
At 22:08, Jason Herrick set the drive in motion with a shot that was blocked. Townsend then lofted a ball over the backline, which nicked off the cross bar and dribbled down just short of the goal line. After a header by Ethan White was saved, Kaoru Forbess followed with rocket that was knuckled out by Greyhound keeper Kyle Wittman at 22:43. Townsend's chip shot 15 seconds later went over Wittman's head but was saved at the goal line by the Loyola backline. The drive ended with a pair of blocked shots by Herrick and Forbess before the ball was finally cleared.
Loyola (11-8-3) had its strongest chance at a goal in the first stanza with 9:34 elapsed. Phil Bannister broke free down the near sideline and set up a one-on-one scoring opportunity for the Greyhounds but his low strike was kick saved by a sliding Zac MacMath.
The defending national champions got on the board at 34:10 when Townsend back-heeled a ball through Herrick's legs and picked up the pass from Forbess on the near post for a 12-yard strike with his left foot. The Traverse City, Mich., native also scored Maryland's first goal of the 2008 NCAA Tournament when he netted the Terp's first score in a 2-0 victory against George Mason.
Billy Cortes helped set up what would be Maryland's game-winner when his cross rebounded off Wittman and shot out to Yates in the box. Yates shook two defenders and created enough shooting space to drive a short-range shot past Wittman for a 2-0 Maryland lead at 36:37.
Loyola cut the lead in half when Danny Ankrah served a ball from 45 yards out through to Bannister who finished the play with a goal from six yards.
Maryland outshot Loyola, 19-10, in the contest and remains undefeated when scoring the first goal of the game. The Terps are now 7-1 in NCAA first round matches under head coach Sasho Cirovski.
"I am very happy with the victory tonight," Cirovski said. "I thought our backline bent a little bit but didn't break. I was very happy to see our attack have a little bit of zip, particularly in the first half. That's what we hope to get.
"I want to congratulate Loyola. I think Mark (Mettrick) has done a fabulous job with that team and I think they fought until the final whistle."
Maryland advances to play No. 7 seed Penn State on Sunday at 1 p.m. at State College.