GERMANTOWN, Md. -- After a slow start, No. 4 Maryland erupted for three second-half goals to defeat St. John's 3-0 in the season opener Friday at the ACC/Big East Challenge at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

Sophomores Patrick Mullins and John Stertzer opened the scoring assault four minutes apart and senior Casey Townsend capped the night off with a header in the 76th minute. Senior goalkeeper Will Swaim picked up his sixth career shutout in his first start since 2009.

Mullins kicked off the scoring for Maryland in the 51st minute after receiving a through ball from senior Kaoru Forbess. The forward slashed across the middle of the pitch and unleashed a low shot from 30 yards out that proved too tough to handle for Red Storm goalkeeper Rafael Diaz.

The Terrapins added onto their lead just four minutes later when Sunny Jane played a cross from the left wing into the top of the penalty box. After clearing a few defenders, the ball fell to the foot of Stertzer who doubled the Terp lead on a shot into the side netting.

Maryland controlled the tempo as the second half wore on and notched a third goal on a corner kick in the 76th minute. Alex Shinsky found a leaping Townsend in the box who headed the ball into the top shelf to push the Maryland lead to 3-0.

Swaim and the rest of the Terrapin backline denied any St. John's chances for the entirety of the second frame allowing only two shots to preserve the shutout.

In the first match for either side of the 2011 season, St. John's took control from the outset by outshooting the Terps 7-3 in the first half.

"It was a great first win. We had a little bit of anxiety in the first half and I thought we were a little bit disconnected and couldn't repossess the ball as much as we wanted," Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski said. "The second half we took a deep breath and picked up a lot of energy and a lot of quality. We kept the ball moving much better. Some of our talented players really settled down.

"It is a work in progress. I think we have a lot of potential. I think there are going to be some moments where we are going to be a little ragged. For a first game, I was pleased, especially with the second half."