Fourteen games, seventy-six minutes, thirty-five seconds. How do you measure, measure a goal? Okay, so it's not quite 525,600 minutes but Sunny Jane's first goal of the season was a long time coming and it came at a good time. It was the only goal in Maryland's 1-0 win over the Drexel Dragons at Ludwig Field Tuesday night. The win gets the Terrapins back track as they wind down the regular season.
As the score shows, this was primarily a defensive struggle with both squads focusing much of their energy on that aspect of the game. "I thought we had good balance in our attack which led to very good transition to defending," Coach Sasho Cirovski said after the game. "Our possession was good. Unfortunately, we weren't that sharp in the final third but when you can shut teams out then you only need one goal to win. And we got that done tonight," he added.
Maryland got its first corner kick of the game in the sixth minute and Mikey Ambrose launched an aggressive shot that went high. A Drexel foul on Schillo Tshuma just outside the right corner of the eighteen yard box in the thirteenth minute gave the Terps another excellent chance to score but the Dragons defense blocked Patrick Mullins's shot off Tsubasa Endoh's centering touch. Maryland's best chance to score in the half came when a Mullins cross found a wide open Endoh nine yards out on the right side and one on one with Drexel goalkeeper Tyler Afflerbach. The sophomore from Tokyo leaned back and blasted a field goal that would have been good from thirty-five yards. Although the Dragons worked for two good opportunities in the half, for most of the period play was confined to Drexel's end of the field a fact borne out in Maryland's 9-2 shot advantage. The Terps had one other golden opportunity when Michael Sauers angled a bullet from the left of the box toward the far post that Drexel defender Tal Bublil headed out of danger as his momentum carried him into the goal. So despite all their work, the Terps came away tied 0-0 at the half.
The second half started slowly for both teams with play concentrated in the midfield and neither squad able to develop any real advantage. Beginning around the sixtieth minute, the Terrapins began to build their attack and possession creating a number of dangerous situations but unable to break through. The crescendo continued in the sixty-fourth minute when Jane played a cross from the left toward Mullins but the senior's attempt to redirect the pass went just wide. Less than two minutes later, Mullins had another chance coming down the right side, receiving a pass of the head of Jake Pace he found himself about as open as he could expect to be in the flow of play but his shot at the far post again went wide. Pace had a chance in the sixty-eighth minute on a long ball from Jereme Raley but he was thwarted when Afflerbach came up with the save. Then came that fateful seventy-seventh minute. Jane was perfectly positioned five yards from the left post to receive a cross from Mullins that, he said, "I could see coming from miles away before Pat shot it. I had to kinda take a deep breath and slow down because I though if I was too excited I might have screwed it up." Happily for Terrapin fans, he didn't and the Terps were able to make that goal stand up and come out with their seventh win of the season.
Next up, Maryland travels to Syracuse for a 7pm game Saturday night against the Orange before returning home for their historic last ever regular season ACC game at Ludwig Field when they take on the NC State Wolfpack on November 1. Kickoff is set for 7 pm.