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Tournaments Nov 06, 2012

No. 1 Maryland defeats No. 9 seed Virginia Tech 2-1 Tuesday in ACC quarterfinals

The top-seeded Maryland men’s soccer team defeated Virginia Tech 2-1 in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 ACC Men’s Soccer Championship Tuesday at Ludwig Field.

Goals by senior John Stertzer and junior Patrick Mullins lifted ACC regular season champion Maryland (15-1-2) back to the conference semifinals after falling short in quarterfinal play in 2011.

Stertzer gave the Terps an early lead in the 11th minute. Mikias Eticha was taken down in the box, setting up a Maryland penalty kick. Stertzer converted, giving the MAC Hermann Trophy candidate his seventh goal of the season and second in the last two matches.

Virginia Tech (7-10-3) was able to negate the early score when it too was rewarded a penalty kick in the 48th minute. David Clemens nailed the shot past Keith Cardona to tie the match 1-1.

But it would be the ACC’s top scorer who would break the tie in the 52nd minute. Freshman Mikey Ambrose sparked the set piece with a perfect corner to Mullins, who followed through with a pretty header to the near post for the eventual game-winner. The goal is the captain’s 12th in 2012.

Despite being a man-down for nearly 35 minutes following a second yellow card to Drew Ranahan, Virginia Tech – which upset No. 8 seed NC State Monday – refused to say die. The Hokies tallied one final chance to tie the match in the 62nd minute when the Terps were forced to make a team save at the far post after Cardona exited the box.

“It was a good result. I think Virginia Tech was very committed to defending and started out with a lot of bodies behind the ball, took a lot of space away and absorbed a lot of pressure from us,” head coach Sasho Cirovski, who is now one win shy of 300 at Maryland, said. “Our response was great. We should have had a lot more goals. Hats off to Virginia Tech and hats off to their goalkeeper Kyle Renfro. He had a career night tonight.

“The first game in a tournament is always the toughest to get through and obviously we did a lot of good things today and on to Friday.”

Maryland dominated the game offensively, mustering a 22-6 advantage in shots. Renfro capped the game with nine saves. Mullins finished with seven shots on goal, including a header in the 70th minute that found its way into Renfro’s grasp.

The Terps will take Clemson on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md., in the ACC semifinals. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.