The Maryland men’s soccer team pulled off an overtime win over No. 4 seed Michigan State to reach the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals, but there is little time to celebrate.
The Terps (8-6-3) are going on the road to Bloomington, Indiana to take on No. 1 seed Indiana on Friday.
The Hoosiers (16-2), who won the Big Ten regular season and went undefeated in conference play, defeated the Terps 2-1 on Oct. 12, thanks to a game-winning goal in the final minute from senior left back Andrew Gutman.
“We remember how heartbroken we were with losing the game to Indiana with 18 seconds to go, so we’re looking forward to a chance to see if we can finish out the last 18 seconds in a better format,” Cirovski said.
Gutman, whom Cirovski called the best player in the country, was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and also leads the Hoosiers with nine goals and seven assists. He ranks third in the nation for game-winning goals, like the one he secured against the Terps in their first meeting this year.
“Last game we let him get two goals, and certainly we’re going to make sure that we neutralize him this game,” Cirovski said. “But we also want to make sure that we’re focusing on our game.”
The Terps are currently playing their best soccer of the season, though, and are currently ranked No. 12 in the NCAA RPI rankings. Maryland has now won four of their five matches, including a 1-0 win over Michigan State that avenged a loss from earlier in the season.
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair kept the Terps alive, making several key saves in regulation to send the game to overtime, and also making a point-blank save in overtime only moments before the Terps’ golden goal.
The Terps earned a corner kick after junior Paul Bin’s shot forced Spartans goalkeeper Jimmy Hague into a diving save, and eventually Vinicius Lansade got possession of the ball. The freshman’s shot was saved by Hague, but sophomore forward Eric Matzelevich was there to knock the rebound in for a goal.
Matzelevich and Lansade coming off the bench and making an immediate impact displays the Terps’ depth as a team that has been plagued with injuries all season, a feat that is true to Maryland soccer’s identity, junior midfielder Eli Crognale said.
“When I say that we’re clicking right now as a team, I don’t just mean they guys starting,” Crognale said. “From top to bottom, we’re all just clicking, so the guys coming off the bench know their role when they come in.”
Both teams coming into this semifinal matchup were forced into overtime in their quarterfinal games, as No. 1 seed Indiana took down No. 8 seed Northwestern on a header goal from redshirt sophomore Spencer Glass in the 97th minute.
The score was 0-0 going into the half, but not from lack of trying from the Hoosiers, who edged the Wildcats 13-0 in shots in the first half. The Hoosiers finally put one in the back of the net in the 80th minute with a goal from senior defender Rece Buckmaster, and took a 1-0 lead.
Northwestern only came up with two shots in the second half, but one of them happened to be an incredible goal from Matt Moderwell to the far post over Indiana goalkeeper Trey Muse to tie the match 1-1 with under a minute and a half left in regulation.
Despite the Wildcats equalizer, the Hoosiers came out victorious in the end with the header from Glass to keep their hopes of winning the Big Ten regular season and tournament alive.
The Terps and Hoosiers are scheduled to kickoff at 1 p.m. EST, and the match will be broadcasted live on the Big Ten Network.
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