When we sat down to record our Olympic sports podcast, one of the questions that arose sought a prediction for the number of titles Maryland would win in its first season in the Big Ten. Elsewhere on the site, people have speculated about which team would be the first to claim a B1G title. Nowhere did anyone ask which player would be the first to win a Big Ten weekly award. Had I been asked, I can assure you I would not have answered Mikias Eticha but the senior from Falls Church, VA is, indeed, the first Maryland athlete to claim such an honor.
Eticha, who sat out the opener against Louisville Firday night, was not in the starting lineup when the Terps took the field for their home opener against Coastal Carolina. In fact, he didn't make his first appearance until nearly 29 and a half minutes had passed when he reported in for Daniel Johnson. He did not have an impact on the first half.
Johnson started the second half and and played the first 16 minutes or so before Eticha again replaced him. This time, the senior had an almost immediate impact. Three minutes earlier, Coastal had tied the score at one all. In the game for less than 15 seconds, Mickey (as he is called by his coach) played a long cross to Michael Sauers. Sauers took one dribble and launched a high arcing ball that floated into the net giving the Terps a lead they wouldn't surrender.
But Eticha wasn't done quite yet. In the seventy-third minute, he found a bit of open space in Coastal's defense. He stood at the top of the 18 yard box, turned on a short pass from Jereme Raley and pushed his shot just inside the the left post to give Maryland a two goal cushion. The goal proved necessary as Coastal would score once more to close to within one. However, Eticha's goal gave the Terrapins the cushion they needed and they held on for the 3-2 win.
Mikias Eticha, for becoming the first Maryland Terrapin to win a Big Ten weekly award. Congratulations. When your season and eligibility end, the Peruvian Chicken is on me.