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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- To call it a soccer player's haven might be a bit of an overstatement, but to the Penn men's soccer team, Maryland's soccer complex must have looked like the Ritz Carlton.

Even after the needed Rhodes Fields renovations, Ludwig Field put Penn's homefield advantage to shame. Sponsors' ads lined the three-foot stadium wall. Bleachers surrounded every inch of the field. Floodlights poured down from above, illuminating 22 players on a broad, clean-cut and well-lined field. The ball boys even wore matching warm-ups.

Approximately 1,059 fans came to support the Maryland Terrapins -- who are currently ranked No. 2 in the nation -- as they defeated one of their least formidable foes of the season, the Penn Quakers, 2-1.

About 100 of those fans showed up for one reason alone, to congregate in the stands placed behind the visiting team's goal. Penn goalie Matt Haefner had more than just a few guests in the six-yard box last night -- he had a horde of boisterous Maryland fans to contend with.

But Maryland's hooligans didn't seem to affect last year's Ivy League Player of the Year in the slightest -- in fact, it almost looked motivational.

So, Haefner went to work on the Terps, putting on a clinic for all in attendance last night. He dove, he punched, he cleared.

He did everything.

Ultimately, Matt Haefner emerged as the dominant player in last night's matchup.

He shook off the taunting calls from the stands and managed to rack up a startling list of accomplishments in just one game. Statistically and emotionally, Haefner served as the lifeblood for the Penn team in a grueling game.

"I just wanted to play my best game yet," Haefner said. The fans "were intense. It was definitely annoying, but after a while I just sort of tuned them out.

"Every time I moved, they said something. Some of it was pretty funny too -- I got a chuckle."

Haefner finished the game with a 11 saves, six of which came in the first half. But those numbers don't tell the entire story.

Maryland tallied 23 shots on goal during the course of the game -- as opposed to Penn's six. The Terps also set up five times for corner kicks, and tossed a few long-distance throw-ins directly into the box.

Only two times, though, was Maryland able to sneak a shot past Penn's netminder.

"Today, Matt Haefner played like an All-American," Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski said. "I think in this game we could have walked out with possibly four or five goals.

"I thought [Haefner] probably made three sure-goal saves."

Haefner alone managed to frustrate the Terps in the first half of play. In the waning minutes of the first period, Penn led by one goal -- which wasn't nearly enough to feel comfortable against a vicious, attacking Maryland team. In the 44th minute, Haefner made a huge diving save to squash Terps' midfielder Sumed Ibrahim's hopes of scoring before the break.

Without Haefner's defensive heroics, Penn would have surely headed to the locker room behind or, at best, tied with Maryland. The goalie demonstrated that he could compete on Maryland's level -- and that he wasn't intimidated by the Terrapins' impressive No. 2 national ranking.

"I consider Haef probably the best shot-stopping goalie I've ever had behind me," Penn co-captain Erik Hallenbeck said.

"This is the kind of game where he can showcase his talents."

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