Maryland fans celebrate the 3-2 overtime win against UCLA. Sarah Sopher | The Left Bench

Maryland defeats UCLA in 3-2 overtime thriller

There was a case of déjà vu at Ludwig Field on Friday night.

In the 98th minute Friday night in front of a sell out crowd, senior midfielder Jake Rozhansky found junior forward Sebastian Elney for the game clinching score. Elney ripped off his shirt in excitement before he was mobbed by his teammates celebrating No. 6 Maryland’s victory over No. 15 UCLA.

In 2015, Elney, a freshman at the time, scored his first collegiate goal when he helped the then No. 6 Maryland Terrapins to defeat the then No. 1 UCLA Bruins 2-1 in overtime. This time, he sealed a 3-2 win.

On Friday night, when the No. 6 Terps faced off with the No. 15 Bruins, the results were peculiarly similar. Elney once again scored a game winner in overtime, this time a 3-2 win.  

“[I was thinking] just get it in the back of the net,” Elney said. “Just another goal.”

After a scoreless first half, the thrilling end to the game was unexpected, but the close match was.

Elney said that these top programs have been evenly matched for years.

“It’s two of the best programs on each coast,” Elney said. “They’re a great team, great players, great coaches, and we are the same. But at the end of the day, we love playing each other, it’s a good rivalry and it’s good for the game of soccer.”

Head coach Sasho Cirovski agreed.

“I just think we love playing each other,” Ciroski said. “I think this is a win-win game early in the year. It’s two great programs that get the best out of each other, there’s a lot of respect between the two programs and that’s why we schedule each other virtually annually.”

The second half started out in a more exciting manner. Junior forward Gordon Wild converted a penalty kick ten minutes into the half after junior midfielder Amar Sejdic drew the penalty.

But it didn’t take long for UCLA to respond.

Junior defender Erik Holt attempted his third shot of the match in the 67th minute when he scored on a rebound off the crossbar, it was the first of two equalizers.

Just five minutes later, freshman forward Eric Matzelevich scored to take the lead in the 72nd minute, capitalizing off a quick throw-in from Rozhansky. Rozhansky found a keen Eryk Williamson who made the assist to the freshman for his second goal of the season.

UCLA came from behind for the second time of the night thanks to the left foot of redshirt senior forward Brian Iloski. Iloski guided a free kick into the top right corner just before the 80th minute.

It was the third consecutive season that Maryland and UCLA were tied after 90 minutes of regulation, last season ended in a 1-1 draw in Los Angeles. The fourth largest crowd ever recorded at Ludwig Field, as 7,532 fans witnessed the thrilling ending: another Elney winner against rivals UCLA.

When asked if he had planned to take off his shirt again like he did when celebrating his first goal in 2015, Elney answered that it came naturally.

“It was all instinct, all instinct,” Eleny said. “It felt like déjà vu.”

Kevin Brown

Recruiting Writer at The Left Bench
Kevin Brown is a freshman journalism student at the University of Maryland. Kevin is from Bear, Delaware and covers recruiting news and profiles for The Left Bench for lacrosse nationwide as well as other sports.
About Kevin Brown 79 Articles

Kevin Brown is a freshman journalism student at the University of Maryland. Kevin is from Bear, Delaware and covers recruiting news and profiles for The Left Bench for lacrosse nationwide as well as other sports.