Nov. 22, 2009

Courtesy Maryland Athletics

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland men's soccer team captured its eighth-straight Sweet Sixteen berth Sunday as it upended No. 7 seed Penn State, 2-1, in the second round of the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship.

Jason Herrick netted the game-winner with 4:05 remaining to lift the Terps against a Nittany Lion squad that was undefeated at Jeffrey Field in 2009.

Penn State, who returned to the NCAA Tournament for this first time since 2005, came out firing in the first minute of the match. Corey Hertzog had a good look at goal after a cross from 2009 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Jason Yeisley, but his header went high in the first 45 seconds.

Hertzog tallied his second of six shots in the first half shortly after when he drew Maryland keeper Zac MacMath out of the box. His shot sailed right of the post.

Cortes notched the Terps' first legitimate scoring chance at 15:33 when he one-timed a solid shot directly into the arms of Penn State's keeper Warren Gross. Hertzog struck again at 21:09 when he shot a ball cross the box past MacMath to the left but Kevin Tangney made a great goal line stand to thwart the Nittany Lion drive.

Jason Herrick started Maryland's first scoring drive when he received a ball at the top of the box and shuffled it over to Casey Townsend. Townsend then passed the ball to Drew Yates, who crossed the ball to an open streaking Billy Cortes on the far sideline. Cortes took two dribbles and blasted the ball past Gross for a 1-0 Terrapin lead at 24:19.

MacMath, whose father Gary played for Penn State in the late 70s, showed why he was tabbed the top keeper in the ACC this season with two huge saves with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. Hertzog's close-range strike went off a sliding MacMath and rebounded back to Hertzog, whose rapid fire shot was saved again by Maryland's sophomore keeper.

Penn State tied the game early in the second stanza after Andres Casais' free kick found the head of freshman Brian Forgue who put his first career shot in the back of the net at 48:23.
After a seesaw remainder of the second half, Herrick tacked on his seventh game-winner of the year when his header snuck past Gross to his right with 4:05 left in the second half. Cortes was credited with the assist, giving the junior a career-high three points for the match.

Maryland (14-5-2-) is now 11-0 when scoring the first goal of the match in 2009.

"I'm just real proud of the character and championship fiber that our team showed today," head coach Sasho Cirvoski, who tallied his 250th career win Sunday, said. "I think we had to do that to win and they found a way to get it done. We look forward to the challenge at Harvard."

Maryland moves on to face No. 10 seed Harvard next Sunday in Cambridge, Mass.