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Big shoes to fill for Terps

Casey Townsend scored 17 goals last season on his way to being named to the NSCAA All-American Second Team and being selected with the fifth overall pick in the MLS Draft. Needless to say, those are big shoes the Terps need filled.

It does not matter how historically good a team is, replacing the fifth overall selection in the MLS draft is an incredibly tough things to do and that is the task the Terps will be faced with after losing their top scorer from 2011, Casey Townsend.

In four seasons Townsend totaled 43 goals and 12 assists for 96 career points. Last year he had 17 points and 36 points on his way to being an NSCAA Second Team All-American and M.A.C. Hermann Trophy semifinalist.

Losing top scorers is nothing new to Maryland or any team for that matter. It is the way the college came is set up, guys develop into great college players and they move on in a few years, leaving room for a new star to rise. Maryland has replaced a dominant player like Townsend before, names like Omar Gonzalez and Jason Garey both immediately pop up, and that is why year-in and year-out the Terps have one of the best soccer teams in the country but until a new player actually emerges there are questions about how it will play out.

Replacing Townsend is a little bit different than when the Terps had to get a new star after Gonzalez or Garey left because they had established stars in waiting on the roster already. This time around the Terps have some top-notch players on their roster but not a star in waiting.

John Stertzer stepped up in a big way last year when he went from having scored four goals in his first two seasons to 14 as a junior. Certainly, he looks like a guy that will be able to handle that role of being a dominant scorer but it is not always about replacing just one player, the players moving up have to have replacements too. So if Stertzer will move up into Townsend’s role as the top scorer, the Terps will need somebody to go into the role he had last season as their secondary offensive weapon who also has the ability to be a dominant scorer.

One name that immediately pops up is junior Patrick Mullins, who started all 21 games last season and scored six goals before being names a second team All-ACC forward. Mullins has shown in his two years with the team that he has a scoring mentality. As a freshman, he scored five goals and last year he upped his total to six, the third highest total on the team.

Another player who can step up into that second or third option role is redshirt sophomore Jereme Raley. Last season Raley started 15 games in the midfield but was skipped over on many offensive attacks with so many other proven scorers around him. As the season wore on Raley went into more of a facilitator role but still finished the year with two goals while taking 20 shots, showing his attack-oriented mind.

It is hard to replace an All-American and the fifth overall pick in the MLS draft but year after year Maryland seems to find new player to replace their old stars and this year’s team will probably be no different and what really makes things interesting is that they are all young and will continue to develop together while getting significant playing time, and that is great news for their dynamic junior midfielder Sunny Jane, who led the team with eight assists last season and was honored as a second-team All-ACC selection.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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