#5 Terps Salvage Draw at #2 Notre Dame

Maryland Athletics
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Senior Patrick Mullins tallied the lone goal as the No. 5 Maryland men’s soccer team escaped No. 2 Notre Dame with a 1-1 draw Tuesday.

Maryland (5-2-4, 4-0-2 ACC) was keyed by a tremendous defensive effort as the Terps kicked off the first leg of their most difficult road trip of the year.  Freshman Zack Steffen racked up five saves to anchor the effort against Notre Dame (6-0-4, 3-0-3 ACC).

After 10 unsuccessful tries, mainly due to a gutsy showing from Steffen, Vince Cicciarelli put Notre Dame on the board with a softly touched goal to finally penetrate the Terrapin backline in the 59th minute.

The Terps notched the equalizer at 71:45 when Maryland completed its most efficient counterattack of the match. Mikias Eticha – who logged a season-high in minutes Tuesday – fed the senior MAC Hermann Trophy candidate from just north of the center line for a 15-yard, left-footed strike for his sixth tally of 2013.

With 15 minutes remaining in the second half, the Terps nearly added the gamewinner when Notre Dame keeper Patrick Wall bobbled a set piece opportunity and David Kabelik’s rebound try was blocked out. Kabelik’s attempt was followed up by a near volleyed goal by Eticha but his shot sailed high.

Steffen came up big again with another beautiful save with nine minutes to play when he stepped up to thwart a Harrison Shipp strike.

Shipp nearly gave the Irish the victory midway thru the first overtime stanza when his left-footed shot when just wide of the back post. Connor Klekota nearly finished the match as well with a shot just wide of the goal in the 102nd minute.

Mullins came dangerously close to swaying the decision Maryland’s way with a near miss to the back post after a fantastic distribution from Dan Metzger from 30 yards.

“I’m very happy with the end result of this game.  Notre Dame was the better team in first half and had a lot of the possession but Zack (Steffen) came up with a couple key saves,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “After some adjustments at halftime I thought we came out with a lot of urgency, became more dangerous and rightfully earned the goal.

“At the end of the day, it’s a very good result on the road against a very good Notre Dame team. I was proud of the resiliency of our team and once again it showed we are on the right track.”

The Terps travel to No. 23 Virginia for a 7 p.m. tilt with the Cavaliers at Klockner Stadium. The match will be shown live on RSN affiliates including Comcast SportsNet and FS South.