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September 12, 1998

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Md. – The Atlantic Coast Conference is without a doubt the top men’s soccer league in the country with four schools currently ranked among the top 20 in the nation, and competition is always fierce in every conference contest. Over the last few years, games between Virginia and Maryland have some of the best the ACC has had to offer.

In each of the last three seasons, the Cavaliers and the Terrapins have played to a tie in the regular season. Last year’s game finished in a 0-0 with both teams coming up short on numerous scoring chances. The year before, Virginia appeared to have a victory when Billy Walsh scored in overtime to put the Cavaliers up 1-0, but the Terrapins tied up the score less than four minutes later on a Jason Cropley goal and the game ended in a 1-1 tie. Virginia also had an overtime lead the previous year after Mike Fisher scored in the 98th minute, but Maryland once again came back on a Shane Dougherty goal to force a 2-2 tie.

If those three great games were not enough to satisfy fans of the two schools, the Cavaliers and Terrapins also met in the ACC Tournament title game each of the last two years. In 1996 Maryland handed UVa a loss in the friendly confines of Kloeckner Stadium, with Pierre Venditti and Dougherty both scoring to propel the Terrapins to a 2-0 win. The Cavaliers came back in the 1997 final to down Maryland 2-0 as Ben Olsen tallied both Virginia goals.

With all the tight games between the Cavaliers and the Terrapins, it would seem that the schools have been playing close games for decades. But in reality, the series has only been tight over the last few years. Maryland was the dominant team early on, winning the first 20 games the teams ever played and posting a 26-1-3 mark through 30 contests. Included during that time was a 12-0 Terrapin victory over the Cavaliers in 1941, which to this day marks the most lopsided loss in UVa men’s soccer history. Virginia posted its first every victory against Maryland in 1978 with a 3-1 win, a game which started a streak of UVa dominance in the series. Beginning with that contest the Cavaliers posted an 18-1-0 mark against the Terrapins through the end of the 1994 season, including a string of 13 straight wins.

With both teams posting records of 1-1-3 against each other over the last three years, the overall series stands in Maryland’s favor at 28-19-6. Even though each school has dominated in the series for a time, the parity in recent years reflects how even the overall series has become.

“Ever since I have been at Virginia, all of the games against Maryland have been big. They are one of the top teams in the ACC, and we know going in that every game will be a battle,” says UVa senior goalkeeper Brock Yetso, a native of Columbia, Md. “And with me being from Maryland, it is always special when we get a win against them.”

Last year, Yetso was one of the biggest reasons for Virginia’s success against Maryland, posting shutouts in both meetings between the schools. In fact, Yetso has not allowed a goal to the Terrapins in 210 career minutes played.

“It sounds impressive to not allow a goal in two games against Maryland, but I had a great defense in front of me to help get those shutouts,” says Yetso. “You also need a little luck to hold a great team like Maryland scoreless for that long.”

Whether Yetso and the Cavaliers can once again hold the Terrapins scoreless remains to be seen, but tonight’s game is sure to be another classic in what has become one of the top rivalries in the nation.

By Charlie Bare
Virginia Athletic Media Relations

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