Dec. 1, 2007
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The No. 19 Maryland men's soccer team lost to Bradley, 3-2, in the NCAA Tournament Third Round on December 1 at Ludwig Field. The Terrapins dominated most of the match and held late a 2-0 lead, but the Braves scored twice in the last three minutes and then scored the game-winner in the 109th minute for the win.
"We played a perfect first half and a very good second half, but for the last few minutes Bradley was able to do what they do best which is score off of scrums and persistence," head coach Sasho Cirovski said. "They scored 90 percent of their goals this year in the same fashion. We are aware of that. I felt like we did a great job most of the time, but we are a thin team and we became a lot thinner by losing three players in the course of the game. It's tough for me to take this loss, however, I don't want to diminish the resiliency and the tremendous effort that Bradley put in. this has been a phenomenal year for Bradley, from tragedy to great triumph. You have to sit in admiration and wish them the best of luck."
Maryland came out and dominated the first half with as they fired off 14 shots to Bradley's two. The Terps almost got on the board less than 10 minutes in when junior Michael Marchiano found freshman Rodney Wallace on the left side of the field. Wallace sent a low pass into the box to sophomore Jeremy Hall who redirected the shot from point blank range, but Mike Haynes made the stop.
The Terps' attack broke through in the 17th minute when senior Spencer Allen sent a long ball from the back line towards the box. A Bradley defender elected to try and clear the ball instead of letting it go to the keeper, and his attempt went right to senior Stephen King. King found a streaking Wallace to his left who finished it off to give Maryland the 1-0 lead.
Junior Graham Zusi came inches away from tacking on the second score with 19 minutes left in the half when a Bradley defender headed a ball back towards the keeper. Zusi got to the ball first though and with the keeper challenging, Zusi pushed a shot that barely missed to the left.
In the 28th minute, sophomore Drew Yates was fouled on the left side of the box. Zusi stood over the ball for the free kick and sent a pass into the box. Sophomore Omar Gonzalez made a run and was left all alone, and he headed a ball into the back of the net to push the lead to 2-0.
Maryland continued to control the game in the second half until the scrappy Bradley team started to create some chances in the last 20 minutes. The Braves first real chance came with 19:38 left in regulation when Chris Cutshaw made a move to get open in front of the box. Freshman keeper Will Swaim came off his line to cut off the angle and Cutshaw flicked a shot over Swaim and the net.
Bradley kept pressing and it finally broke through in the 88th minute when a pass was sent into the box. A group of players surrounded the ball and out of the scrum Drew DeGurian came up with a shot that reached the back of the net to cut the lead in half.
Momentum seemed to shift towards the Braves as they kept pressing and with 37 seconds left they notched the tying goal. The two teams got into another scramble in the box with both sides trying to head the ball and Cutshaw finally got a clean shot and he scored to force overtime.
Both teams had a great scoring chance in the first overtime as Justin Bigelow found some space about 22 yards out. He fired a shot past Swaim, but it nailed the crossbar and away from danger. The Terps had their chance when Zusi set up for a corner kick. His in-swinger found Gonzalez in the box who headed a shot at Haynes, but his quick reaction kept the ball out of the net.
King came inches away from the game-winning goal in the second overtime when he blasted a shot from 25 yards out that sailed just high.
The game-winner came in the 109th minute when Paul Tracy handled the ball on the left side. He sent a cross into the box where Cutshaw was making a run and he redirected it. The ball went to the right side and went in to complete the Bradley comeback.
The Braves (16-5-4) advance to play either Ohio State or Santa Barbara next weekend while the Terps end their season at 10-6-5.