By JOHN BOSCHINI
No. 3 Maryland again showed why they are a strong favorite to hoist the College Cup as the Terrapins won their fourth ACC championship with a 1-0 victory over No. 4 North Carolina, who went down to 10 men after Michael Farfan was shown a straight red card in the first half.
The Terrapins benefited from two closedecisionsfrom referee Mike Landis in the first half. In the 34th minute, Farfan left his feet andcollidedwith John Stertzer, who was a gametime decision with an ankle injury. Landis showed Farfan UNCs first straight red card of the season and the Tar Heels were without their best player player.
UNC head coach Elmar Bolowich wouldnt comment on the decision after the game, saying he didnt seek an explanation from Landis.
Im not going to comment on the referees, Bolowich said.
Maryland had taken the lead 20 minutes earlier when Enzo Martinez was whistled for a handball inside the box. Junior Matt Kassel stepped up and sent Scott Goodwin the wrong way and Maryland had an early lead.
It wasnt intentional at all, said Martinez. My hand was just beside me, I cant chop my hand off, the ball just hit me there. Id understand if I raised my hand or something but the ref saw what he saw.
Surprisingly, the Tar Heels were a vastlyimprovedside after losing arguable their best player.
[The red card] had sort of a twisted effect on the game, said Cirovski. On the one hand, you thought wed have the ball a little more and wed have some chances. But I think it inspired them to a much higher level.
In the second half, it was all UNC as Maryland, who had zero shots after the intermission, was content to sit behind the ball and absorb pressure. North Carolina should have had an equalizer when Martin Murphy rounded Zac MacMath but Alex Lee cleared the shot off the line.
I probably got a little undisciplined by leaving my feet but thankfully I gave enough time for some guys to get back on the line, MacMath said. We ended up having three or four guys back there and it just so happened Alex got his chest out there and cleared it.
MacMath, who was named the tournament MVP with a 0.33 goals against average and a penalty kick save in the tournament, bailed the Terrapins out on numerous occasions. Redshirt senior Jason Herrick said that Maryland wanted to push on and get an insurance goal but as North Carolina increased its pressure, defense became the Terrapins priority.
We really wanted to press them from early on, Herrick said. We had a bunch of chances but we couldnt manage to get the second goal but we held on.
Marylands winning streak, which dates back to Oct. 1, increases to 13 games and the Terrapins should enjoy a lofty seed.
This was one of our stated goals and now this is one of our completed goals, Cirovski said. We have one more stated goal to go and thats what were going to focus on.
ACC All-Tournament Team
Jason Herrick, MarylandMatt Kassel, MarylandZac MacMath, Maryland (MVP)Jalil Anibaba, North CarolinaMichael Farfan, North CarolinaEnzo Martinez, North CarolinaCasey Townsend, North CarolinaKirk Urso, North CarolinaCraig Sutherland, NC StateHunter Jumper, VirginiaAmit Aburmad, Boston College