Terps, Virginia play to scoreless tie Near-misses, Kirk's saves key rematch of ACC finalists

September 14, 1997|By Gary Davidson | Gary Davidson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK -- It was a game Maryland should have won, but was lucky not to lose.

After 120 minutes of play, however, the highly ranked Terps had to settle for a scoreless tie with Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both schools before a record 3,723 at Ludwig Field.

Despite the lack of scoring, the match featured plenty of end-to-end action, several key defensive plays on both sides and some crucial goalkeeping by Maryland's Andy Kirk.

"Both teams could have put a few chances away," said Terps defender Leo Cullen, who, with fellow senior R. T. Moore, was outstanding on the back line. "Both teams know right now they have to work on finishing. Hopefully, we can bring that along.

"It's better that we have that problem now at the beginning of the season than we do later if we see these guys again."

Maryland, rated second and third in two national rankings, is off to its best start since 1986 when it had an identical 4-0-1 record. The Cavaliers, ranked 11th and 18th, are 2-1-2 following the rematch of last year's ACC tournament finalists. Maryland beat host Virginia, 2-0, for its first ACC title.

Cullen was not surprised by the close game. "It usually is like that with them. It could have gone either way," he said. "Somebody could have won it. Both teams put in a great effort and unfortunately no one came out with a win.

"I wouldn't say it was for nothing. It definitely helped us judge some things we've got to work on."

By all rights, both teams should have made the score sheet. Cullen and Moore each cleared shots off their goal line during regulation. Defender Scott Vermillion did the same for Virginia.

Eight minutes into the match, Virginia midfielder Ben Olsen launched a 20-yarder that rattled the crossbar. Two minutes into the second half, Terps midfielder Keith Beach banged a 32-yard shot off the bar.

In sudden death, Cavaliers back Jason Moore curled a corner kick off the crossbar before Cullen cleared it from a crowd.

"Some games are like that. You take the good with the bad," said Virginia sophomore striker Brian West (Centennial High). "Of course we would have liked to have put some numbers up there. We had some good chances. I had one myself."

Kirk twice slid out to stuff unmarked attackers in the penalty area, including once on West. On several occasions, he punched dangerous entry passes to safety.

"When you make saves like that, it's a gut check. And certainly we did that," said Terps coach Sasho Cirovski. "I think they had to pull a couple off the line and off the crossbar as well. It was a very up-and-down game with good play defensively by both teams and yet with great attacking play.

"We learned where we're at right now and where we are is we're a very good team. If we can clean up a few things, we'll be a great team."

Virginia 0 0 0 0 -- 0

Maryland 0 0 0 0 -- 0

Goals: None. Saves: V -- Yetso 5; M -- Kirk 7. A -- 3,723.

Pub Date: 9/14/97

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