Revenge tastes sweet for the Maryland men’s soccer team, especially when that revenge sends them to the NCAA College Cup Championship.
Defeating the No. 2-seed Indiana Hoosiers, 2-0, in their third matchup of the year, the No. 11-seed Terps are headed to the College Cup Final, facing the Akron Zips on Sunday. This is the first time Maryland has reached the national championship match since 2013, when they lost to Notre Dame.
With his first-career goal, Matt Di Rosa put the Terps up 1-0, capitalizing off a corner kick in the 37th minute. Di Rosa continued the score-first trend in the tournament, as Maryland scored first against NC State, Duke and Kentucky. The Di Rosas may have a personal vendetta against the Hoosiers, since Matt’s twin brother Ben scored his first-ever goal in the Big Ten Tournament Semifinal.
With 10 minutes left, Maryland was on its toes as Indiana had a chancel to equalize, but junior centerback Donovan Pines had other plans.
Maryland had not scored first against Indiana in the two previous matches, but came into the match winning its last nine contests when scoring first. Indiana, on the other hand, had not conceded a goal since the Nov. 9- matchup in the Big Ten Tournament.
Though junior attacker Paul Bin had the first shot on goal, the ball rolled right to sophomore goalkeeper Trey Muse. Neither team was controlling possession, but Indiana did get two chances on goal with back-to-back corner kicks in the 15th minute. The Terps backline, solid throughout the season, cleared both looks for the Hoosiers.
Head coach Sasho Cirovski stressed the importance of shutting down MAC Hermann Trophy finalist Andrew Gutman before the match, and his team delivered in the first half. Most notably was Pines, who was on Gutman as soon as he came streaking down the pitch from his leftback position.
Indiana entered the second half with a chip on its shoulder, going on the attack right away. The Hoosiers had four shots going into the half, but midway through the second half, they tallied nine.
The Hoosiers closest chance came in the 63rd minute, when the other Di Rosa, Ben, saved what would have been an Indiana equalizer by blocking a shot within the six from Indiana’s Spencer Glass.
Di Rosa saved the day once again, blocking yet another shot from Glass, who was wide open on the far post inside the box.
Despite the Terps’ defense looking tired for the later part of the second half, enduring a relentless Indiana offense, the Terps were rejuvenated by Pines’ goal. The All-Big Ten defender crashed the box on an Eli Crognale free kick, and just barely got a touch on the ball that split Muse’s legs to roll into the goal and seal the win.
The Terps will face unseeded Akron, who defeated Michigan State 5-1 in the other College Cup Semifinal, on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
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