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2011 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament: Casey Townsend Scores Hat Trick As No. 5 Maryland Terrapins Defeat West Virginia

The Maryland Terrapins Men's Soccer Team continues their quest to return to the NCAA Tournament Final with a win over West Virginia today in College Park.

COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 05: Maryland Terrapins fans cheer before the start of the Terrapins game against the Miami Hurricanes at Byrd Stadium on September 5, 2011 in College Park, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 05: Maryland Terrapins fans cheer before the start of the Terrapins game against the Miami Hurricanes at Byrd Stadium on September 5, 2011 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Since 2002, the Maryland Terrapins have reached the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament every single year. With a 1-0 lead at halftime in College Park over the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Terrapins are well on their way to continuing that streak.

The Terrapins' Men's Soccer team has seen plenty of success in the NCAA Tournament in recent years. They fell to the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Tournament Final in 2008, and won it all in 2005. That 2005 team included plenty familiar names to MLS fans. Stephen King and Marc Burch were each key contributors for DC United this season, while defender AJ DeLaGarza will be featured for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Cup Final tonight.

Several players on this Terrapins team could be on to bigger things as well at the next level. Senior forward Casey Townsend is one of them. He scored a hat trick for the Terrapins, and could be on his way to an early first round selection in the 2012 MLS Draft.

Maryland took the lead in  the first half of today's match with a clean finish from Townsend, the target forward who has scored 13 goals for the Terrapins this season. Townsend was fortunate to collect the ball after West Virginia goalkeeper Pat Eavenson failed to secure it. The goal came in the 20th minute, and the rout would be on in College Park.

Townsend added his second goal just after halftime. On a quick counterattack, sophomore midfielder Sunny Jane sent a low cross in from the right wing. Townsend beat Eavenson to the ball and struck it strongly underneath the diving goalkeeper. Jane would come through again just a minute later with a cross just a long the goalline, finding Jordan Cyrus at the back post. Cyrus made no mistake about it with a simple kick into the back of the net to increase the lead to 3-0.

Townsend found himself in alone behind the Mountaineers defense once again with 14 minutes left in the game. With the goalkeeper sprinting towards him, Townsend cheekily chipped the ball over Eavenson and into the net.

With the win, the Terrapins move on to the NCAA Tournament round of 16. They'll be kicking off again next Sunday at Ludwig Field in College Park against the winner of tonight's match between the No. 12 Louisville Cardinals and the Bradley Bulldogs.