The No. 6 Maryland Terrapins defeated the Cal Poly Mustangs 1-0 Monday night at Ludwig Field for the fourth win to start the season.
The momentum was all in favor of the Terps (4-0) throughout the match. The midfield was able to control the possession of the ball and created fifteen shooting opportunities, compared to the Mustangs’ three.
It was junior midfielder Eryk Williamson who found the best chance. His through ball sent to junior winger DJ Reeves put him in a dangerous position before getting tripped up in the box. Gordon Wild stepped up to the penalty spot to score his third goal of the season in the 25th minute.
Reeves spoke of how the movement that led up to the penalty call has been practiced in training before.
“Typically when I see Eryk [Williamson] pick up the ball in that pocket, we practice on me getting around that right back or center back,” Reeves said. “It was basically just a simple run into space and that run makes the center back make a decision, you either go for it or you let him do it and that time I went for it and it got called for a penalty.”
The Mustangs (0-4) opted for more of a defensive approach to the match, often having eleven players behind the ball at one time.
“I think they showed us a tremendous amount of respect with their tactical approach and defensive posture in the game today,” Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “It was understandable, and I thought our guys managed it well. We were clearly in control the whole time, I would’ve liked a bit more sharpness and maybe a few more goals but you have to give full credit to their goalkeeper.”
Cal Poly junior goalkeeper Simon Boehme made seven saves on the night, keeping the score a lot closer than it could have been.
The last goalscoring opportunity of the half came with just four seconds left, as junior left back Chase Gasper’s low cross fizzed into the box where junior forward Sebastian Elney almost connected to score what would’ve been a dramatic buzzer beater.
Cirovski made three changes to the starting lineup from the UCLA game, as Donovan Pines replaced Johannes Bergmann alongside Miles Stray in the defense. Freshman right back Ben Di Rosa started for senior captain George Campbell and freshman Eric Matzelevich started over Elney as the main striker.
Match minutes were also given out to sophomore midfielders Paul Bin and Eli Crognale for their first appearances of the season. Crognale, brother of former Terp captain Alex, transferred from Belmont University. Sophomore midfielder Mike Heitzmann was given his first appearance for the Terps in the second half.
“We talked about getting a few guys in so that they’re ready as the season progresses,” Cirovski said. “We talked about it a lot and I really wanted to rotate the squad, and I think we only had one midfielder play the 90 minutes and that was Jake [Rozhansky]. I think with the pace of the game we will be fine for Friday.”
Of the three given their first appearances of the season, Crognale impressed with his 24 minutes on the pitch.
Cirovski opted to put the usual starters back into the fold to start the second half, as George Campbell and Johannes Bergmann both entered the match.
The Mustangs created very little offensively, shooting the ball just three times during the full 90 minutes. The team’s most threatening opportunity came off a first-time volley from freshman forward Angel De Leon off a corner kick from senior midfielder Alex Sanchez. His shot hit the side netting to make the Terps nervous down the last stretch of the game.
Maryland will look to use their dominance in the midfield and defense going into conference play, as the Terps play the No. 7 Indiana University Friday night at Ludwig Field.
Reeves spoke about of the higher stakes that the Hoosiers bring to College Park.
“We know Indiana is a great team, and we respect them a lot,” Reeves said. “It’s a big test being our first Big Ten game and against one of the best teams in the country so we’ll be ready for Friday.”
When asked what the Terps can improve upon before conference play, Cirovski said it was about
“I don’t think it’s about improving, we just have to make sure we are ready to go,” Cirovski said. “With a team like Indiana, you have to be good at all aspects of the game.”
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