Terps squeak by in 2nd round

Burch's 1st-half goal holds up as top seeds kick off NCAA title bid

Maryland 1, Brown 0

College soccer


College Park -- The road to this year's College Cup could go through Ludwig Field, where the Maryland Terrapins have not lost a game all season.

Despite the home-field advantage, Maryland(16-4-1) knows that opposing teams are coming with a little extra fire to try and knock off the tournament's No. 1 seed. Last night, unseeded Brown gave the Terps all they could handle for 90 minutes before bowing, 1-0, in a feisty second-round match.

The Terps will next play host to St. John's on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Ludwig Field, marking the third consecutive season the teams will meet in the tournament. St. John's won in a national semifinal in 2003, and Maryland prevailed in a quarterfinal last year.

With the experience of advancing to the final four the past three seasons, the Terps feel this could finally be the year they capture their first national championship since 1968.

However, coach Sasho Cirovski knows that the Terps will have to be more aggressive on offense if they want to raise the trophy next month in Cary, N.C.

"We expected a very hard game and it certainly proved to be one," Cirovski said. "Brown is a difficult team to penetrate. We really needed to get that first goal because they put a lot of players behind the ball."

Maryland, which had an 11-day layoff after its 4-2 loss to Duke in the ACC tournament semifinals and a first-round NCAA bye, had trouble finding any rhythm in the game's opening minutes.

Brown was content to drop most of its players back in an attempt to catch Maryland off-guard with a quick counterattack, but this tactic produced only four shots on goal for the game.

The Terps finally got into a rhythm midway through the first half and took the lead with 19 minutes left when Marc Burch took a pass from A.J. Godbolt that split Brown's defense and sent a scorching shot just inside the near post.

"I saw A.J. look up and I just ran to where I knew he would hit it," Burch said. "A couple of weeks ago, he hit one perfect and I just didn't finish."

Brown (11-5-2) was able to contain Maryland forward Jason Garey, who was held without a point for the first time in 13 games. Garey, who is a candidate for National Player of the Year, was shadowed by defenders wherever he went on the field but was still able to muster three shots on goal.

The Bears finally began to push forward with 16 minutes left in the game, but they were unable to get a shot past Maryland goalie Chris Seitz (three saves).

"I am disappointed in the game," said Brown coach Mike Noonan. "I thought our team played courageously. Jason Garey is still a great player."

As long as Maryland continues to advance in the tournament, the Terps will play all their tournament games at Ludwig Field, where they are 10-0-1 this season and have outscored their opponents 31-6.

The Terps are also 8-0-1 in NCAA tournament games at home over the past three seasons.

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