Dec. 6, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland men's soccer program is headed back to the College Cup after defeating Creighton, 1-0, in NCAA Quarterfinal action on Saturday afternoon at Ludwig Field.
Maryland (21-3-0) struck early and frequently in the first half. Omar Gonzalez, who netted a goal in the Terps' round-of-16 win against California last week, headed a ball just high of the cross bar off a Graham Zusi kick at 6:09. Approximately four minutes later, Casey Townsend had a couple shots come dangerously close of putting the Terps on the scoreboard, but his initial attempt out of traffic went wide off the keeper's hands and the other, a header, was blocked by the Jay defense.
It wouldn't take much longer for Maryland to score. Michael Marchiano served a perfect ball off a free kick from 26-yards out to a diving Rodney Wallace, who headed home the ball to the near post for a 1-0 Terrapin lead. It gave Maryland a full-circle feel, as Wallace nailed a score to open the year in a 2-1 win against UCLA at The Home Depot Center.
The Terps stayed in attack mode for the remainder of the half and had another couple near misses. Jeremy Hall almost gave a Maryland more breathing room after his header bounced off the cold ground and then off of Creighton keeper Brian Holt's hands. Gonzalez fired a rocket low to the ground that went directly at Holt and created a 2-on-1 opportunity for the Jays that ended with a shot wide by Byron Dacy.
Maryland continued to press up in the second half and spattered an additional six shots in the period. The Terps' shot output was the heaviest Creighton, a team that has not lost since Sept. 13, has seen this season.
The win solidifies Maryland's fifth appearance in the College Cup in the past seven seasons. The Terps have not been back to the Final Four since winning the national championship in 2005. The victory also moved Maryland to 21 on the year - a program-best. Creighton ends its season at 16-2-2.
"It feels great to be back," head coach Sasho Cirovski, who is headed to his sixth College Cup, said. "I couldn't be more proud of our team right now. I thought we played a Creighton team that was as competitive as they come. We knew this was going to be a real combative game and a real high energy game."
With a 14-game winning streak in tow, the Terps will face St. John's at 8 p.m. in the semifinals next Friday at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.