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Soccer faces Terps in early season challenge

In what will be a challenging early season test, the Virginia men's soccer team will hit the road for the first time this season when they take on Maryland at Ludwig Field Sunday at 7 p.m.

The No. 8 Terrapins (2-1) are coming off a 4-0 trouncing of Marshall in their home opener Wednesday night. Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski said he recognizes the importance of Sunday's contest as a critical juncture in the young season.

"I think it's going to be a great game," Cirovski said. "It always is when Virginia and Maryland face off. It's one of the best rivalries in the country, and it's a very important game for both regional and ACC action."

Virginia emerged victorious in last year's clash of the ACC titans, an outcome that Cirovski said he doesn't want to see replicated this time around.

"We're going to need to play at the top of our game, and not make any errors," he said. "Last year we made a bunch of errors in the first half, and Virginia punished us severely for that."

Second-year Cav midfielder Steve Totten concedes that the Terps will be out for blood, but said he doesn't see his squad backing down at all.

"I think we took it to them last year," Totten said. "They're going to really want us bad. If we just play well, we should come out with the victory."

A victory over a tough Maryland team just might be the piece the No. 14 Cavaliers (2-1) need to help stabilize their side after what has been a roller-coaster start.

After falling to Gonzaga last Sunday in a disappointing final game of the Coca-Cola Classic Tournament at Klockner Stadium, Virginia got a big confidence boost Wednesday night at the expense of Appalachian State. The Cavs will go into College Park riding the wake of an 8-1 spanking of the Mountaineers, a game that saw third-year forward Ryan Trout become the first Virginia player this decade to score four goals in a single game.

Trout said the win should help his team immensely in approaching the Maryland game, and said he feels confident about Virginia's chances.

"Coming in [to the Appalachian State game], we needed to build our confidence up," Trout said. "I think we did that [Wednesday]. We play one of the biggest games of the season this year against Maryland, but we should be able to beat them. Player for player, we're the best team in the country. It just depends on whether we go out there and play like Virginia or we play like some farm team."

Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch hopes that the latter isn't true, and has a sense of the potential explosiveness of the Maryland roster.

"They are very athletic and their strength is their attacking players," Gelnovatch said. "They're very fast, and they're solid in the back. They will be the best opponent we'll play all year, and it's at Maryland. It's a very good early test for us against a top-ranked team."

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