Taking a break from conference play, the Maryland Terrapins men's soccer team hosted the Santa Clara Broncos at Ludwig Field Saturday night. In a bit of an opening half twist, Maryland played toward the west end of the pitch generating a Crew stampede so they could be properly positioned behind behind Broncos goalkeeper Carl Carrwik. The change in the direction of play didn't produce a change in the late season trajectory of the Terps' soccer fortunes as they extended their season long winning streak to five with a 3-1 decision over the Broncos.
First half - Pressure but no cooker
Maryland opened the game "on their front foot" as coach Sasho Cirovski has described the Terrapins' style of play. The Terps needed barely 30 seconds to generate their first corner kick and a shot by Alex Shinsky went just wide off the short ball second corner just a minute in.
Despite maintaining relentless pressure throughout the half, that led to a number of excellent chances including an Alex Shinsky header off a brilliant cross launched from the far right sideline by Jereme Raley, Maryland was able only to frustrate Santa Clara into picking up two yellow cards. The Terps out shot the Broncos six to three but Dan Metzger managed the only shot on goal for either squad and the half ended with no score.
"This was a great grind it out win for us," said Cirovski afterward. "We were a little rusty in the first half. We were in control but we didn't have to have their keeper make a save until four minutes to go and that was a shot from distance. In terms of our quality and menace in the attack it was lacking."
Second half - It's finally soup
Freshman George Campbell from Baltimore's McDonogh High came to Maryland as one of the most prized members of a highly regarded freshman class for the Terrapins. Perhaps feeling some added pressure because of the spate of early season injuries and playing with some nagging injuries of his own, Campbell had not been as productive as Maryland fans had hoped.
Campbell needed 14 games and 57 and a half minutes to score his first collegiate goal. He took a short pass from Mikey Ambrose along the left side, took one dribble, turned and drove a laser into the lower left corner past a surprised Carrwik. The goal was Campbell's first of the year and gave the Terps a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
"I was delighted for George," said Cirovski. As for the freshman's feelings, "It was definitely relieving. Definitely a good feeling. Glad to have finally gotten one. It takes a little stress off. I'd been harping on getting one for so long. Hopefully I can not feel so tense when I'm playing."
Campbell's score also turned the Broncos' goal into a boiling cauldron into which the Terps would drop two more meaty scores. The first came on a set play. After David Kabelik saw Carrwik save his point blank shot, Tsubasa Endoh played a service on the corner kick that fell neatly at Kabelik's feet. He redirected the ball left to a sliding Jereme Raley and Maryland had a 2-0 lead.
Campbell was in the middle of the Terps' third score drawing two fouls on a brave run through the Broncos' defense. Since Campbell had the advantage after the first foul the referee signaled play on. The second foul disrupted the freshman's run and created a free kick for Maryland. Mael Corboz played a perfectly arcing shot from 25 yards over the Santa Clara defensive wall that curled into the upper right ninety extending Maryland's lead to three.
The visitors would score a late goal in the 83rd minute that did little but spoil Zack Steffen's attempt to pick up his seventh shutout of the season. The win, in front of an announced crowd of 2,371 moves the Terps to 8-5-2 on the season. According to tradition, Maryland's freshmen can now shave their beards. Maryland freshmen can't shave until the team records eight wins or the class scores eight goals.
The Terps will look for win number nine when they host the Hartwick Hawks Tuesday night in their final regular season non-conference game. Maryland will close its home season against Ohio State and then end their inaugural B1G regular season at Rutgers.