Cortes Sparks Terps to ACC Semifinals
Nov. 10, 2010
Courtesy of Maryland Athletics
CARY, N.C. - Senior Billy Cortes scored a goal and added an assist to lift second-seeded Maryland past Clemson, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Soccer Championship Wednesday at WakeMed Soccer Park.
After his goal in the ninth minute provided Maryland (15-2-1) with an early lead and boost of momentum, Cortes assisted on Casey Townsend's game-winner at the beginning of the second stanza to spark the Terps to the semifinals for the first time since 2008.
Maryland, playing in its first afternoon match of the year, struck first as Cortes netted his fifth goal of the season. Following a solid header attempt by John Stertzer, Clemson (5-9-4) was unable to successfully clear a corner kick from Matt Kassel. After a slight misdirection by sophomore Paul Torres, Cortes laced a strike to the right post from 16 yards for the Terrapin lead at 8:43.
Clemson, the tournament's seventh seed, answered nearly 10 minutes later when Austin Savage's close-range shot beat Maryland goalkeeper Zac MacMath to the right post. It was the Tigers' only shot in the stanza, with the Terps owning the shot advantage, 8-1, through 45 minutes.
After a quiet first half, the Terrapin forwards finally broke free 12 minutes into the second half. Cortes set up Maryland's game-winner with a long serve from the near sideline and Townsend won the battle in the air with the header score from four yards.
The squads were even with four shots each in the second half and a steady defensive effort thwarted off several Clemson attempts at the end of the match. Maryland is now 15-0 when scoring the first goal of the match in 2010. The Terps have won 11 consecutive games.
"Some days you play very well and don't win and some days you don't play so well and get a win, so we will take the second of that," head coach Sasho Cirovski. "We were not as crisp as we wanted to be but we feel good about our team.
"We knew this was going to be a tough game. The first game in the ACC Tournament is always a very difficult game. This is a Clemson team that has gotten better and played extremely well in the second half of the season. We knew they would be a tough out."
Maryland will play the winner of the No. 3 seed Wake Forest and sixth-seeded Virginia match on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The game will be webcast live on theacc.com. A radio broadcast will also be available at www.wmucsports.com.