Terp of the Week: Sunny Jane
Nov. 30, 2012
Each week during the 2012-13 season a Maryland student-athlete, who has shown excellence on and off the playing field, will be selected as the Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week. This week's Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week is Sunny Jane from the men's soccer team. Jane scored two goals and dished an assist in a 5-1 rout of Coastal Carolina in the third round of the 2012 NCAA Championship last Sunday.
By Taylor Smyth | Maryland Media Relations Assistant
Out of all in-game celebrations, the party after a goal is scored in soccer may be the most joyous in sports. With tallies at such a premium, the pent up energy that is released by both players and fans is unparalleled.
Sunny Jane knows about pent up energy. The lightening quick winger uses his speed and skill to wreak havoc on opposing defenders game after game. The problem for Jane was that this season, those abilities weren't translating into goals.
At least until Sunday's NCAA third round contest against Coastal Carolina where Jane put together perhaps his finest performance as a Terrapin, scoring two goals and assisting on one more as Maryland routed the Chanticleers 5-1.
"It felt good," Jane said. "I was kind of still upset that it took that long to get a breakthrough, but it's a big confidence booster and I'm looking forward to playing again."
The goals were the junior's first since a 4-2 victory over Duke last season. A second team All-ACC selection in his sophomore campaign, Jane has struggled to replicate his previous offensive output.
"It was frustrating for me and my coaches," Jane said. "I had been doing a lot of good things, but the finishing part didn't come. I had a good week of practice [before Sunday]. I practiced a lot on my shooting. It paid off."
His inability to influence goals has not made Jane a liability for Maryland. In fact, the former Kentucky high school star says his inability to finish has made him work harder in other aspects of the game.
"This year my main focus has been to help the team both offensively and defensively," Jane said. "I want to help the team anyway I can. It doesn't matter what it is. I know when I do my part, the team performs well."
The effort has not been lost on head coach Sasho Cirovski, who credits Jane with consistently putting together fine performances not shown by the stat sheet. "I think he's been a little unlucky," Cirovski said. "A few times he could have been more technical, but I always expect Sunny to be dangerous. He's a very good two-way player for us. He's a tremendous asset to our team."
While his defensive improvement may be getting the most attention inside the locker room, the South Africa native is known to Maryland fans for his individual flare, his flashy moves consistently bringing Ludwig Field crowds to their feet.
"Those moves on the ball help my confidence a lot," Jane said "I know it helps the team a lot when the crowd goes crazy. Everybody gets a lot of energy. That's has been part of my life since I was little."
The influx of skill Jane provides is something the Terrapins will need as they attempt to make their first College Cup appearance since 2008.
Cirovski sees Jane playing a big role in any Maryland title run.
"You have to constantly be worried when he has the ball at his feet," Cirovski said. "He can beat you on the dribble and with crosses. Now the scoring just adds another dimension."
If his beautiful finish on the Maryland's third goal against Coastal was any indication, Jane's scoring dimension may be rounding in form just at the right time.
After Jane tallied the goal to break his scoreless drought, the junior sprinted toward the corner flag before gleefully hopping in a circle. The finish was perfect and the celebration might have been better.
Certainly a goal and dance worthy of the Terp of the Week.