Maryland has got that Golden State feeling. The No. 6 Maryland men’s soccer team (3-0) take on Cal Poly (0-3), the third California team they will play over a four-game stretch.
The Terps play the Mustangs for the third game of a five-match home stand at Ludwig Field on Monday night at 7 p.m.
Head coach Sasho Cirovski and company are fresh off a 3-2 overtime win against UCLA on Friday night. The Mustangs are coming off a 3-1 loss at Georgetown for their third consecutive defeat to start the season.
While winless, Cal Poly have played top ranked opponents to begin their season.
The Mustangs went the distance with No. 10 Notre Dame away from home, ultimately losing in double overtime 2-1. Three days earlier, they lost the first game of the season came against No. 7 Indiana University at the Mike Berticelli Memorial tournament hosted at South Bend.
Maryland, on the other hand, has played just one ranked opponent against the 15th-ranked UCLA Bruins. Both Hofstra and Santa Clara remain unranked a week after Terp victories.
Despite a seemingly easier schedule thus far, Cirovski spoke after the UCLA match of how the extra game may have hurt the team’s performance against the Bruins, who only played one game before facing the Terps.
“I didn’t do a great job of scheduling,” Cirovski said. “I think I put my team under the gun a little bit. Having them play a game in between [the UCLA and Santa Clara matches] probably wasn’t the smartest thing I could have done.”
Other than scheduling conflicts, Cirovski discussed some things to improve upon for the next game.
“Our movement of our forwards was not very connected, our initial defensive pressure was not very sharp, and that caused some problems for us,” Cirovski said. “We weren’t able to keep the ball as much, and there were times where we were pulled apart. However, UCLA only had a couple of decent scoring chances, and I thought during the run of play we had the better opportunities.”
Maryland has three multi-goalscorers on the season. Junior forward Gordon Wild, freshman forward Eric Matzelevich and senior midfielder Jake Rozhansky have all scored two on the season while the team has recorded nine goals already.
However, Cal Poly’s goalkeeper, Simon Boehme, will be tough to beat between the goal posts. Boehme was named the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament’s most valuable goalkeeper as he made 12 total saves in the two losses.
Cal Poly sophomore midfielder Christian Enriquez was also recognized with a place on the all-tournament team in South Bend. Enriquez will be a player to keep an eye on for the Terps.
Maryland junior midfielder and defender Andrew Samuels came off in the second half against UCLA with an apparent injury. Cirovski said that, while he only knew that Samuels received some stitches, he would be a big loss if he missed any action.
“He is a very valuable member of this team,” Cirovski said. “I consider him a starter on this team, it’s just a matter of what five positions he will play on the day. He is Mr. versatility on this team, and you saw it again today. When we needed some help building out of the back, we put him in and when we needed some more mobility in the midfield that’s where we put him.”
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