In a potentially season-saving match, the Maryland men’s soccer team downed No. 7 Denver Tuesday night, 1-0.
Maryland’s lone goal came in the fifth minute of the game, as senior defender Chase Gasper sent a long cross into the box that junior attacker Paul Bin was able to get a head on and send to the back of the net.
“I kind of blacked out, honestly,” Bin said. “I usually don’t score headers, so it was kind of an odd feeling, but it was just a great ball in and I got my head in the right place at the right time.”
The 1-0 lead would sustain for the remainder of the match, as the Terps took down their second ranked opponent of the season following their 3-1 win over then-No. 18 Coastal Carolina on September 30.
“I think as a team our confidence is rising on the attacking side of the ball, and I think Paul is a good example of seeing that,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “The relationships are getting better, the ideas are coming together… we’re in a good place.”
Bin, who scored in the Terps’ last match against Indiana, is now tied for the most goals on the team this season with three.
Midway through the first half, Denver had the slight upper hand with three shots to Maryland’s two, but neither team was controlling possession.
The Pioneers had an offensive weapon in the form of Andre Shinyashiki, the senior forward that leads the nation with 21 goals on the season, but Cirovski praised his defense for rising to the challenge.
Cirovski said going into the match, the game plan for Shinyashiki was simple: always have an extra player around him to keep an eye on him. The defensive midfielders— Andrew Samuels and Eli Crognale— and centerbacks— Donovan Pines and Johannes Burgmann— kept a close enough eye on Shinyashiki to hold him to only two shots.
Denver started to put significant pressure in the second half, forcing the Maryland defense and redshirt junior goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair to make key stops, including a second shot on goal from Shinyashiki.
As both teams turned up the offensive pressure in the second half, play became much more physical. Both teams combined for 21 total fouls on the night and four yellow cards.
The Terps defense, though, held steady until the clock ticked down to zero, despite coming under heavy fire during Denver’s last-ditch effort.
“This is a great win for our program,” Cirovski said. “Our guys showed more physical and mental toughness today that at times we’ve lacked, and this was a great catalyst win for our program.”
As Maryland reaches the home stretch of their regular season schedule, the team will have to earn some key conference wins to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. The Terps will host Big Ten foe Ohio State on Friday night at Ludwig Field at 7 p.m.
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