Maryland men's soccer will be going into the postseason on a high note after beating No. 16 Rutgers Wednesday at Ludwig Field in College Park.
On senior night, it was a freshman who stole the show for the Terps. Forward Eryk Williamson had started all 16 games for Maryland and was goalless in his career coming into Wednesday's game. His two scores were the difference against Rutgers (11-5-1), and he gave Maryland (8-5-4) its first offensive goal since Oct. 20 (its score against Washington was an own goal). After Alex Crognale headed Amar Sedjic's cross off Rutgers goalkeeper David Greczek in the 11th minute, the ball came right to the feet of Williamson, who was able to cash in the rebound from point-blank range.
After the Scarlet Knights scored off a free kick to make it 2-1 in the 48th minute, Williamson helped the Terps respond. In the 55th minute, David Kabelik took a breakaway right at Greczek, who reached out and deflected the ball right to Williamson, who knocked home another goal to double his career total and make it 3-1.
"He could have been doing this all year, he so good," midfielder Mael Corboz said. "I wouldn't be surprised if he finished the season with eight or nine goals."
Seniors Tsubasa Endoh, Corboz, Kabelik and Dakota Edwards were all honored in a pregame ceremony in what could have been their last game at Ludwig Field. Endoh and Corboz have been focal points of the offense the entire season, and Wednesday was no different.
"They all see how good we all are," Williamson said. "They've been pushing us all year, and it's good we got a win on their night."
The Terps extended their 1-0 lead in the 24th minute on Endoh's third goal of the season. After Chris Odoi-Atsem dumped off a pass to Corboz on the right side of the box, Corboz's cross into the middle was deflected by a Rutgers defender and evenutally ended up on the foot of Endoh. He took a couple touches and fired a lazer that deflected off the top post, just barely crossing the goal line. It was originally ruled no goal, but after Corboz pleaded with the referee to check with the side judge, the ruling was reversed and Maryland went up 2-0.
Corboz was facing his former team this senior night, having played the first two years of his career in New Brunswick, and had a solid day on offense. He assisted on Endoh's score and both of his two shots were on goal. He ends the regular season with a team-leading nine assists.
Williamson came off the bench for only the second game this season, having starting 15 of the team's 16 games, but did't have to wait long to enter, coming in after George Campbell suffered an injury in the first minute.
"Eryk was always going to play," head coach Sasho Cirovksi said. "I wanted to take some pressure off him and take him off the bench. I didn't think it'd be 40 seconds into the match."
Maryland's offense was extremely efficient. Nine of the team's 17 shots came on goal, and the Terps' shots-on-goal percentage of 53 was well above their season average of 35.
Cody Niedermeier had an easy day,save for the for the one goal he allowed. Rutgers only had two shots on goal, and Niedermeier saved the one he didn't let in.
The Terps were without forward and leading goal-scorer Sebastian Elney, who received two yellow cards and was ejected from the team's loss to Oho State on Saturday.
The Terps will play in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament Sunday, time and opponent TBD.
Cirovski shrugged off questions about momentum after the game.
"Momentum will only be as good as we make it," he said. "We haven't been able to follow up a lot of great performances like this, and I think this is a fresh start. Our goal right now is not to lose again."