WESTFIELD, Ind. – Top-seeded Maryland defeated No. 3 seed Wisconsin, 2-1, in the 2016 Big Ten Men’s Soccer Championship on Sunday afternoon to win its fifth straight conference tournament crown.
Sophomores DJ Reeves and Sebastian Elney each scored as the Terps (18-0-2) moved their winning streak to 15 games, the longest stretch in program history. Maryland has not lost since falling to Ohio State in Columbus on Oct. 31, 2015 – a stretch of 25-straight matches. Sunday’s title was the third consecutive for Maryland since it joined the Big Ten Conference in 2014. It is the longest streak for a Big Ten team since Indiana won six in a row from 1994-1999.
Reeves, who made his first career start on the conference’s biggest stage Sunday, wasted little time getting Maryland on the board at 1:24 when he beat the keeper on the endline and shot from six yards to the left. Suli Dainkeh was credited with the long assist.
Wisconsin evened the score with a goal 10 minutes later. Christopher Mueller and Noah Leibold’s exchange set up the Tom Barlow score for a 1-1 match.
Elney gave Maryland the go-ahead goal with time waning in the first half. Jorge Calix’s corner kick provided the sophomore forward with the assist on the header from six yards for a 2-1 lead in the 43rd minute.
“This was another great team performance and once again we showed our resiliency,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “We showed our championship fiber. This is an absolutely remarkable accomplishment. With all the success that I’ve had, I’m still at a loss for words for the fifth conference championship in five years. I credit my staff and my players for their resiliency and class and for bringing it every single day.”
Sunday’s championship was Maryland’s 33rd league title overall and its ninth tournament championship.
Senior goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier made seven saves to lead Maryland defensively.
Senior defender Alex Crognale and sophomore forward Gordon Wild were named Big Ten Championship Defensive and Offensive Most Valuable Player, respectively, and joined Niedermeier on the all-tournament team.
Maryland will find out its tournament destiny when the bracket for the 2016 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship is announced Monday at 1 p.m.