It was as exciting as a scoreless game could be as the Maryland soccer team (0-1-1) held the three-time defending national champions to a 0-0 draw through two overtime periods.
“Stanford is a tough nut to crack and I thought we matched them on the competitive side of things,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “Unfortunately we’re still missing that final quality in the last 25 yards of the field, but it’s something we’re getting better at.”
The start of the game was dominated by the No.10-ranked Cardinal attack (0-0-2), specifically midfielder Logan Panchot. The sophomore captain launched a shot to the top crossbar on a free kick just outside the box within the first minutes of the game, putting early pressure on redshirt junior goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair and the Terps’ defense.
The Cardinal continued the pressure with a corner kick only minutes later, but the tide started to turn after Maryland got its first good look on goal.
After a cross from sophomore defender Ben Di Rosa, junior attacker Paul Bin crashed the box and got the Terps’ first shot on goal in the fourth minute. Though the ball was easily snatched up by Stanford’s redshirt freshman goalkeeper Andrew Thomas.
The star of the offense was Bin, who was putting the Stanford defense on their heels with his speed and fast footwork. Bin was successful in getting through the Cardinal defense but was unable to finish any of his runs after a couple touches got out of his control.
“Even a guy like Paul Bin, who I think at times was electrifying tonight, has only started three games in his career,” Cirovski said. “As he gets his legs under him when he’s playing 70 to 80 minutes a game, I think you’re going to see some of those crosses and goals going to the back of the net.”
Meanwhile on the other half of the field, junior centerback Donovan Pines helped keep Stanford from getting a shot on goal the entire first half with his tough defense, including a crucial block midway through the first half on Stanford sophomore forward Charlie Wehan.
Pines’ head was certainly in the game, using his height to soar above the Stanford defense inside the box for a header first on a set piece, then again after pushing up from his usual backline spot to challenge the Stanford defense.
St. Clair and the Terps defense bounced back after last week surrendering two goals at Washington, holding the reigning champs scoreless through 110 minutes of play.
The Terps continued to press on offense with Bin and senior attacker Sebastian Elney leading the way late in the second half, but the closest attempt for Maryland came from freshman Justin Gielen, who’s shot went just wide left of the goal with just over 12 minutes left in regulation.
Both teams seemed to settle in and prepare for overtime periods, until the last five minutes.
Maryland made their last-ditch effort with two minutes left to no avail, but Stanford would make the game a lot more interesting in the final minute.
Stanford lured St. Clair off his line just enough to get a shot off on an empty net, but Gasper came to the rescue with a short-lived clear. Another shot by Stanford was wrapped up by St. Clair, and the time ran out on the clock.
“I loved the effort our guys put out,” Cirovski said. “I think that’s the kind of grit and competitiveness I expect from our team… tonight was a positive step in the re-identification of Maryland soccer.”
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