Dec. 3, 2005
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland Terrapins advanced to their fourth-straight College Cup after advancing on penalty kicks over Akron Saturday afternoon in front of 4,129 fans at Ludwig Field. The top-seeded Terps played the Zips to a 1-1 tie before winning 4-1 in PKs. Maryland will now face Southern Methodist in the national semifinals in Cary, N.C. The Mustangs were 3-2 winners over North Carolina on Saturday.
Game times for the national semifinals will be announced on Sunday night. Clemson and New Mexico round out this year's version of the College Cup at the SAS Soccer Complex.
"It was a great college soccer game," head coach Sasho Cirovski said. "Akron is a great team; they came to play. The game rightly ended in a tie - it was very evenly played. It's unfortunate both teams cannot advance, I'm just very happy that we are the ones moving on.
"I'm proud of this program and this team," Cirovski continued. "What we have accomplished now with a fourth-straight trip to the College Cup is remarkable."
Maryland scored first on a Kenney Bertz goal to take the 1-0 lead, but Akron countered late with a score from Sinisa Ubiparipovic just before halftime to tie the score. The two teams traded chances throughout the rest of regulation and in overtime before moving on to penalty kicks.
Stephen King stepped up first and converted his try for Maryland. Akron's first shooter, Justin Sadler hit the post on his attempt. Goalkeeper Chris Seitz had a good jump on the shot and had the post covered if the shot was on frame. Chris Lancos and Yohann Mauger traded makes and Maurice Edu added another for Maryland, and Seitz again came up big with a save of Ossie Michalsen's shot. With a chance to end the game, Maryland's Marc Burch converted to give the Terps the 4-1 shootout victory.
"I was just trying to get a read off them and see where they were set," Seitz said of his approach to the penalty kicks. "I got lucky and guessed right a couple of times."
Akron opened the game with two solid scoring chances within the first four minutes of action. Both chances were off set pieces but were saved by Seitz. Maryland then took control with solid possession and playing deep in the offensive third. Maryland's persistence paid off when the Terps were awarded a free kick just outside the box in the 21st minute. Chris Lancos sent the ball into the box where a Zip player attempted to clear the ball but hit it directly to the foot of Bertz who buried the shot for the score and a 1-0 lead.
Akron picked up its play toward the end of the first half and got the equalizer in the 44th minute. Sadler worked down on the right flank and sent a perfect cross to Ubiparipovic who hit the ball with his right foot to knot the score at 1-1.
The second half was even with dangerous chances for both teams, but no one was able to find the back of the net. For the Terps, Lancos had a clean look at a header off a corner but had it sail high and Akron keeper Evan Bush stuffed a Jason Garey shot in the waning minutes of regulation to keep the scored tied.
The Terps were dealt a blow in the 58th minute when All-ACC defender Bertz was injured and forced to leave the game. Freshman A.J. Delagarza, though, stepped in as a central defender and helped limit the Zips to just five shots in the second half.
The Zips had two good opportunities in the first overtime on a header by Matthew Tutich off a corner that just missed right and a free kick from just outside the box by Ross McKenzie that was blocked. Akron had two corner kicks and three shots in the second overtime, but was not unable to get a score before the game moved on to penalty kicks.
Maryland won in penalty kicks in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in as many years. In the Terps' four-year run to the College Cup, they are 10-0-2.