COLLEGE PARK - -For nearly 35 minutes Thursday night, Loyola absorbed Maryland's pressure and put together several effective counterattacks that had the Terps scrambling defensively.

When the Terps did get an open look at the goal, Loyola goalie Kyle Wittman managed to tip a shot over the crossbar or knock the ball out of the penalty area.

The Terps, however, showed why they are defending national champions. Casey Townsend and Drew Yates each scored in a span of 2 minutes, 27 seconds in the first half, and Maryland held on for a 2-1 victory in an NCAA Division I men's soccer tournament first-round game.

Maryland, which is unseeded for the first time since 2001, plays at No. 7 Penn State on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Loyola did not go quietly. Phil Bannister scored early in the second half for the Greyhounds, but they could not convert on several opportunities to tie the game.

"Our back line bent a little bit but didn't break," said Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski, whose team is playing with four new starters on defense. "Obviously, we are still a young team and this was a highly motivated Loyola team. I thought [Loyola] put in a very good effort."

Bannister nearly gave Loyola (11-8-3) a lead in the fifth minute when he went one-on-one with Terps goalie Zac MacMath, who knocked the ball away with his feet. Maryland then began to find its rhythm midway through the first half.

Townsend finally broke through when he took a pass from Kaoru Forbess and hit a shot that caromed off the near post and into the goal in the 34th minute.

"If we score the first goal, we get that much more confidence," said Townsend, who missed eight games this season with an ankle injury. "We just keep attacking."

Instead of using more players defensively to protect the lead, the Terps (13-5-2) continued to move forward and struck again in the 36th minute when Yates slotted in a loose ball from about 12 yards. Loyola got back in the game on a goal by Bannister in the 50th minute. A scrum ensued when Bannister tried to quickly retrieve the ball and was blocked by MacMath.

"Our second-half performance was very good," Loyola coach Mark Mettrick said. "I thought our young lads bounced back and really had a great second-half performance. We were on the brink of tying the game."

Loyola 0 1 - 1

Maryland 2 0 - 2

Goals: L-Bannister; M-Townsend, Yates. Assists: L-Ankrah; M-Forbess. Saves: L-Wittman 7; M-MacMath 1.

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