Dec. 12, 2003
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Maryland men's soccer team lost to St. John's 1-0, in NCAA Tournament action at Crew Stadium. The Terps finish the season 20-3-1, matching its school-record win total of a season ago, but fall in the national semifinals for the second consecutive season.
"In games like this, you hope your team shows up and plays the way they are capable of playing - like champions," head coach Sasho Cirovski said. "It's a tournament of champions, and I felt like we played like champions. Soccer is a strange, cruel game as we all know, and the ball didn't bounce our way.
"I just told my team that I've just had two of the best years of my coaching life. They are an incredible group of people that are champions in every aspect of life." Maryland controlled the action in the first nine minutes of the first half, not allowing the Red Strom to advance into the Terrapin third. Clarence Goodson was stellar for the Terps, winning several balls in the air and preventing a St. John's attack. Jason Garey was persistent up front as usual, firing three shots on goal in the first nine minutes.
Following the initial Maryland barrage, each team settled down and traded offensive runs. In the 35th minute, St. John's Georgi Spanos sent a ball for Ashley Kozicki in the top corner of the box. Noah Palmer came out to play the ball but ended up fouling Kozicki.
"The ball got played over the top, it was kind of a 50-50 ball played into the top of the box and I got there a second late, I didn't get to the ball on time," Palmer said of the play. The Red Storm's Sebastian Alvarado-Ralph converted the penalty kick for the 1-0 lead, which the Red Storm held into the half. The Terps were held without a shot on goal for the last 36 minutes of the half.
Maryland came out strong in the second half, but was unable to get as many good looks as it did early in the first half. Several Terrapin possessions ended with a touch that was just a little long or wide and was swept away by the Red Storm back line. In the 20th minute, the Terps put its best pressure of the half after Scott Buete sent a ball into the box. In the traffic in front of the net, Garey turned and fired from eight yards out but his shot sailed just high over the crossbar.
Abe Thompson also had a great scoring chance with just over 10 minutes left when his header was saved by Bill Gaudette just over the goal line. Gaudette also made another stop on a Thompson shot with just over 30 seconds to play in the match. He finished the game with nine saves.
Maryland's control of the ball prevented any St. John opportunities. The Red Storm had only two shots in the second half, compared to 16 for the Terps. For the game, Maryland outshot St. John's 25-9.
Maryland fifth-year seniors Siba Mohammed, A.J. Herrera, Scott Buete and Sumed Ibrahim finish their careers with 65 victories at Maryland. Four-year seniors Seth Stammler and Bryan Vitagliano have helped the team to 61 wins.