Just four days after blanking Duke 2-0 in front of a record setting crowd at Ludwig Field, the Terps played in front of a noticeably thinner throng of onlookers in the mid-week showdown.
Maryland controlled the flow of the first half, doing a good job maintaining possession, but took eleven shots, five corners, and 34 minutes, before the Terps finally capitalized.
Midfielder Paul Torres played in a ball that was headed by a UConn defender before it found super-sub Patrick Mullins in behind the defense. Mullins managed to turn the header past Huskies keeper Josh Ford to give the Terps a 1-0 lead.
It was the freshmans second goal in as many games, and his third of the season.
[Defender] Gordon [Murie] was making fun of me, saying it was the softest header hed ever seen, said Mullins, but it was in the right spot so it worked out well.
UConn entered the evening undefeated at 7-0-2 and were averaging 2.89 goals per game, but were held scoreless for the first time this season.
The Huskies had a number of solid opportunities, very early in the match and then in the dying minutes. Just five minutes in, UConns leading scoring Tony Cascio displayed some fancy footwork, working his way down the sideline into the box, before firing a laser just wide of the post.
In the 86th minute, Maryland goalie Zac MacMath came out of the box to stop a cross, but it bounced to UConn striker Alan Ponce. The Husky had a wide-open goal from about 20 yards out, but launched his shot way over the goal letting MacMath off the hook.
It wasnt the prettiest game, but its a great win, said Maryland Heat Coach Sasho Cirovski. Our back line is really coming together.
Much of the defenses recent success can be attributed to what is becoming a formidable pairing in the middle of the back line, with junior Alex Lee and sophomore Ethan White occupying the center back positions and becoming more comfortable with one another.
Our problem at the beginning of the season was our lack of communication, our connectedness wasnt there, said Lee after the game. Every day we work on those connections and movements in the back line.
After a brutal 11-day stretch in which the Terps took on three top-10 teams, Maryland only plays two more ranked teams the rest of the way. They travel to Blacksburg to take on ACC rival Virginia Tech on Friday.
This was a pivotal halfway point game, the progression has been positive on both sides of the ball, said Cirovski. I dont look at whos ranked and whos not. We recognize who we are and that teams are going to be prepared to give us their best effort. Its my job to make sure that our team respects every opponent yet fears no one.