COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Sophomore Eryk Williamson scored the game-winner in the 98th minute to defeat Wisconsin, 3-2, and capture at least a share of the 2016 Big Ten Regular Season championship Friday night at Ludwig Field.
The Terps (11-0-2, 6-0-1 B1G) – who played in front of a home crowd of 4,000 or more for the fifth time this season – also picked up a pair of goals from senior Alex Crognale, including a late equalizer in the 88th minute.
Crognale’s first goal came in the 12th minute. Amar Sejdic’s free kick from just outside the box connected with the senior captain who finished from six yards to the near post for the early 1-0 lead.
Wisconsin would answer in the 64th minute with a Sam Brotherton goal that snapped a nearly 530-minute shutout streak for the Terps, who had not allowed a goal since a 3-2 win versus Penn State on Sept. 18 at Ludwig Field.
The Badgers struck again a mere three minutes later with a Mark Segbers score off a cross for a 2-1 advantage.
Crognale pushed the game to overtime after Sejdic’s corner kick was redirected by Chris Odoi-Atsem for a tie match in the 88th minute. Crognale’s late goal was reminiscent of his 87th minute tally on the road at Indiana which ultimately forced a draw - the Terps’ lone league blemish this season.
Williamson’s goal from eight yards with two and a half minutes to play in the first overtime came via an assist from D.J. Reeves, who – along with Sejdic - leads the conference with six this season. It was Williamson’s second goal of the season.
The 2016 regular season title is Maryland’s fourth in the last five years and its eighth under the tutelage of head coach Sasho Cirovski, who, along with Reeves, celebrated birthdays Friday.
“That had the feel of a championship game. Wisconsin is probably the most improved team in the country from a year ago and we knew it was going to be a tough game,” Cirovski said. “After we scored the first goal I thought we could've scored another two or three.
"When you give a team some hope and they come out in the second half with a little bit of energy, they start to believe. They sucker punched us with one fortuitous goal and one good goal. Then we had to respond. That's why I'm so proud of my team. We started to put some pressure on, scored another set piece goal. Then, in overtime Eryk scored a great goal. We were challenged as a team and we responded. That's part of the growth of the team over the course of the season. We showed some championship fiber today in the same game we showed a little bit of weakness."
The Terps return to action Tuesday night when they play host to American at 7 p.m. at Ludwig Field.