When Patrick Mullins won Terp of the Week last November, the Maryland men’s soccer team was in the midst of an NCAA tournament run that would end with a heartbreaking loss in the College Cup semifinals.
Now with a retooled squad, Mullins has put off his professional ambitions and returned to try to lead the Terps one game farther.
The senior has not missed a beat after winning college soccer’s Heisman, the MAC Hermann Trophy, leading the Terrapins with six goals. Mullins and sophomore Schillo Tshuma have formed one of the best forward partnerships in the country, constantly testing opposing defenses with incisive runs.
But while Tshuma was heavily involved in Mullins’ sterling junior campaign, the New Orleans-native has some newer faces serving him passes this season. Last year’s midfield maestro, John Stertzer, who played a part in many a Mullins goal, is now plying his trade with Real Salt Lake in MLS.
In his place is the frantic movement of sophomore Tsubasa Endoh, who has provided solid service into Mullins and Tshuma from the middle, along with being a menace from set pieces.
The wing play features the familiar threat of senior Sunny Jane and a new one in freshman Michael Sauers. Both players, along with super sub Jake Pace, will try to help Mullins match his goal totals from last season.
Ultimately though, it’s Mullins’ job to put the ball in the back of the net, and as his midweek tally at No. 2 Notre Dame showed, the senior can do it anytime and anywhere.
With Terrapins’ expectation set to play well into this November, they will need Mullins’ goals to move one step closer to the ultimate prize this season.