COLLEGE PARK – The Maryland men have become the kings of late-game soccer dramatics this season. Playing their third straight overtime game, and eighth overall this season, the top-ranked Terrapins continued their winning ways as they defeated No. 8 Michigan 3-2 in double overtime in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Men’s Soccer Tournament. “We […]
COLLEGE PARK – The Maryland men have become the kings of late-game soccer dramatics this season.
Playing their third straight overtime game, and eighth overall this season, the top-ranked Terrapins continued their winning ways as they defeated No. 8 Michigan 3-2 in double overtime in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Men’s Soccer Tournament.
“We seem to have a flare for the dramatic this year,” Maryland Head Coach Sasho Cirovski said. “I love my team’s resiliency, but I am a little frustrated in the fact that we making games this interesting.”
Junior midfielder George Campbell scored the game-winning goal in the 102nd minute when he quickly turned the ball to his left to beat his defender and created extra space for the left-footed shot. It was Campbell’s third goal of the season.
“Obviously, scoring the goal was huge,” Campbell said. “But advancing our team to the next round is the biggest thing for me.”
The Terrapins finished the regular season undefeated with a record of 15-0-2 on Nov. 5 at Michigan, but needed a double-overtime goal by senior Suli Dainkeh to escape from Ann Arbor with the victory. Michigan defeated No. 9 Rutgers on Nov. 6 to earn the opportunity to have another shot at upsetting Maryland.
Even though Maryland had more rest time – seven days’ worth – than its opponents, it started the game off slow offensively.
The Terps conceded possession to the Wolverines for quick counterattacks and goal-scoring opportunities. Striker Francis Atuahene almost converted the first goal of the match after retrieving a Maryland turnover and creating a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier. His shot ended up sailing wide across the net.
“I was surprised by some of our lack of energy early in the game,” Cirovski said. “Considering we had a great week of practice and we had some players (come back), but that will be something that is going to be a point of correctness this week.”
Despite Michigan’s aggressiveness, Maryland got on the board first after Michigan defender Andre Morris’ attempted clearance of a Gordon Wild cross went into his own net for a goal.
Four minutes before halftime, Wolverines defender Lars Eckenrode headed back a Michigan free kick to a wide open Tyler Anderson for a low-driven goal. The Terps responded moments later as defender Chris Odoi-Atsem created a quick attack off a Michigan turnover within its own territory and laid off a diagonal pass to forward D.J. Reeves to regain the lead.
Five minutes into the second half, Atuahene tied the game after heading in a Rylee Woods cross.
The tying goal motivated Maryland to press its attack forward, resulting to eight of its 13 total shots. With less than seven minutes to go, Maryland had a fast three-shot sequence in under two minutes. Wild had a left-footed shot saved and Reeves, looking for his second goal of the game, hit the post.
Midfielder Jake Rozhansky took one final shot in the final minute of regulation that also hit the woodwork, sending both teams to their second overtime game against each other within a week. Cirvoski expressed displeasure at having to play another overtime game this season.
“I’ve talked all year about us having another level, but it seems that we only show it in moments of being tied or being behind,” Cirvoski said. “I will challenge my team to bring that from the first half on for the rest of the year. We have no choice.”
In both overtime periods, the Terrapins were the aggressors on offense, looking for the game-winner and testing Michigan backup goalkeeper Braden Horton. Starter Evan Louro was subbed out before the start of overtime due to a knee injury. Maryland was not able to register a shot until Campbell’s goal in the second overtime.
“Right now, we are making it easy on teams,” Campbell said. “I think we need to get back to this aspect of ‘we are not going to let things slip past us’ and get that blue-collar work ethic back into our play.”
The win is Maryland’s 16th of the year. The Terps will play No.4 Michigan State in the semifinals on Nov. 11 at Grand Park in Westifield, Ind. The Big Ten Tournament Championship will take place on Sunday, Nov. 13.