RALEIGH, N.C. - No. 14 NC State dropped a 3-2 decision to No. 1 Maryland Friday night at Dail Soccer Stadium despite a two-goal effort from junior Alex Martinez.
The Wolfpack (6-1, 0-1 ACC) suffered its first defeat of the year, which results in the 2012 squad coming up one game short of equaling the best start in program history, set in 1982.
"I was pleased with the way we started the game," said NC State head coach Kelly Findley. "But I was equally disappointed with the way we opened the second half. We fought hard against the best team in the country tonight, and while we're obviously disappointed to let this win slip away, we competed in a way that we can build on for the rest of the season."
Martinez granted the Pack a 1-0 lead over Maryland (5-0-1, 2-0 ACC) in the fifth minute. Ryan Metts set the table with a cross that found Martinez at the top right corner of the box. Martinez shimmied his way past a defender and sent a bullet along the ground into the bottom right corner of the goal.
State nursed that lead for the ensuing 36 minutes, withstanding a barrage of chances by the Terrapin offense. In the 41st minute, Maryland's Jake Pace netted the equalizer, nudging a header into the Wolfpack goal off of Taylor Kemp's corner kick.
Maryland stormed out of the locker room by breaking a 1-1 tie in the 48th minute. Schillo Tshuma collected a pass on the left side and deposited a shot into the bottom left corner to make it 2-1. Once again, Kemp was credited with the assist.
A foul in the Wolfpack goal box led to the Terrapins' third goal of the night. The whistle provided John Stertzer with a penalty kick opportunity, which he drove in to extend the lead to 3-1.
The Pack answered in the 63rd minute when a similar call led to Martinez's seventh goal of the season, and second of the night, on a penalty kick. State tried mightily down the stretch, but couldn't find the tying goal before the final seconds ticked away.
NC State returns to action on Tuesday, September 18 at 7 p.m. when Campbell comes to visit. GoPack All-Access will provide streaming coverage of Tuesday's game, fans can also follow Twitter updates from @PackMensSoccer, and live stats from GoPack.com.