The Maryland men’s soccer team left their scoring troubles behind them on senior night, defeating Ohio State 5-0 at home Friday night.
This is the Terps’ largest margin of victory all season, and their first five-goal game since facing Wisconsin last year in the regular season.
“I really like where our team is right now,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “You can see that there’s a little mojo with them. They’re starting to believe.”
Seniors Amar Sejdic, Chase Gasper, Sebastian Elney, Andrew Samuels and DJ Reeves were honored before the match, as well as redshirt junior goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, who entered Maryland with this senior class.
“I’m delighted with this great performance on this special night celebrating a special group of seniors,” Cirovski said. “We were led by seniors throughout not only by the goals of Amar and Sebastian, but the incredible play of all six tonight.”
Fitting for senior night, three of Maryland’s goals came from seniors — Sejdic with two and Elney with one— and defender Chase Gasper had three assists, which tied a school record.
“We’ve missed him,” Cirovski said. “He wears teams down, and it’s no coincidence that we’ve become better attacking in last few games since he’s come back in the lineup.”
Gasper said though he appreciates the individual accolade, the most important thing was that he and his team were able to pick up a big win on an emotional night.
The Terps’ first goal was the product of two seniors – Elney and Gasper. Gasper carried the ball up the left side of the pitch, passed to Elney, who turned and scored with his left foot from just outside of the box.
This was Elney’s second goal of the season and Gasper’s third assist in his last four games.
To take a 2-0 lead in the 62nd minute, Sejdic got the ball at the 18 and cut to his right foot before striking the ball to the near post and into the net. Gasper got credited with his second assist of the night, sending a lateral pass to sophomore Matt Di Rosa, who then passed to Sejdic.
Not finished yet, Sejdic twisted the knife into Ohio State, scoring again in the 72nd minute to give the Terps a 3-0 lead. Freshman Brayan Padilla gave a short pass to Sejdic inside the box, and with his left foot, Sejdic buried his second goal of the night.
“Two goals is special to me, but without the team’s performance overall, I wouldn’t have been able to do that,” Sejdic said. “Everything was just clicking together and we had so much momentum and confidence.”
And the Terps weren’t done yet. Junior Donovan Pines, the defender who has been close to scoring all season, earned his first goal of the season from another Gasper assist in the 76th minute to put the Terps up 4-0.
“The entire bench erupted and I think the whole crowd knew it was a special moment,” Cirovski said. “He puts his heart into everything he does… so when that goal went in it was just a huge exaltation.
Junior midfielder Mike Heitzmann finished the Terps’ dominating win with his first-career goal in the 84th minute, scoring his first-career goal.
The Buckeyes fall to 1-12-2, still winless in the Big Ten, and have not picked up a win since August 26 when they defeated Hofstra, 1-0.
The Terps dominated the first half, shown through their 10-0 shot advantage going into halftime. After taking the 1-0 lead, the Terps maintained possession of the ball and got a handful of chances on goal due to Ohio State fouls.
Ohio State had their first look on goal in the 51st minute of play, but senior Michael Prosuk’s shot inside the six was blocked, and St. Clair scooped the ball up for his first save of the night.
The Buckeyes finished with only two shots on the night, compared with the Terps’ 21 shots.
The Terps closed out the match with a 5-0 win after upsetting No. 7 Denver on Tuesday night, both of which are big confidence boosters going into the last two games in the regular season.
“We really see that in the attacking third, relationships are starting to click,” Gasper said. “To score five goals in a game is huge. We’re looking to keep building on this.”
The Terps host Penn State on Tuesday night for their final home game of the regular season, before traveling to Ann Arbor on Sunday to face No. 18 Michigan.
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