COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Terps’ (14-3-3) recent offensive woes were all but an afterthought as they outshot West Virginia (11-8-1) 19-5 to advance to the third round for the 10th consecutive season.
After a shaky start that began with two early corner kicks from the Mountaineers, the Terps settled in and jumped in front with a strike in the 20th minute. Sophomore Helge Leikvang played a threatening chip into the penalty box and Townsend scooped up the loose ball from goalkeeper Pat Eavenson to score from four yards out.
Maryland continued to control possession for the remainder of the first half but was repeatedly thwarted by the West Virginia backline.
As the second half commenced, Sunny Jane took over with a slick combination of speed and foot skills throughout the offensive third.
Jane’s elusiveness paid off in the 60th minute when he played a nifty back heal along the flank to Jereme Raley. Raley collected the pass and played a low ball across the box to Townsend for his second goal of the match, and a 2-0 advantage for the Terrapins.
Maryland struck again just one minute later when Jane played a beautiful low ball across the Mountaineer goal line. Jordan Cyrus easily tapped home the cross for his first-career goal to put the Terps ahead 3-0.
Townsend capped off his magical night after beating the West Virginia offside trap and receiving a ball from Kaoru Forbess in the 76th minute. The forward chipped over the head of Eavenson to give the Terps an insurmountable 4-0 lead. It was the Hermann Trophy candidate’s second hat trick in 2011 and his fourth goal in the last two matches.
Freshman Keith Cardona went relatively untested in his third career start in net as the Maryland defense held West Virginia to a mere one shot on goal. Cardona (2-0-1) has yet to concede a goal this season.
“It feels good to win again,” head coach Sasho Cirovski, who’s squad was 0-2-2 in its last four matches heading into the tournament, said. “We had a great week of practice…the best one since preseason. I expected us to be very good tonight and we were. Clearly it was one of the most complete performances of the season. We know that when we are sharp, we are going to be as good as anybody. Tonight we did all the little things right.
“West Virginia is a very difficult team to play against. To have a performance like that against a high quality team is a credit to our players.”