The #13 ranked Maryland Men's Soccer team began their campaign this evening out in Bloomington, Indiana against the #4 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic, a mini tournament that takes place on the campus of Indiana University.
Maryland came away with a 0-0 draw vs the Irish in what was a strong performance from a young Terps team. They probably should have come away with the win but in this early season test against a Top 5 foe I think it'd be fair to give them a passing grade.
Maryland dominated the early going in the possession department. The passing was very sharp and very quick, allowing Notre Dame few chances to press and win the ball back higher up the field. Despite the possession, very few notable chances were created by the Terps in the first 15-20 minutes. Amar Sejdic had a half chance on a shot inside the box which he dragged wide. Mael Corboz had an opportunity to put in a dangerous cross off a free kick on the right side of the Notre Dame defense but it was easily claimed by the goalkeeper.
Freshman forward Eryk Williamson, a member of the US U-18 Men's National Team, had a chance just after twenty minutes when he chipped the ball over Irish goalkeeper Chris Hubbard from close in front but wasn't able to find the back of the net.
David Kabelik - a frequent substitute for the Terps in the 2014 campaign - came on for highly touted recruit Sebastian Elney with 20 minutes remaining in the first half. (In College soccer you are allowed to make unlimited substitutions, and if a player goes off in the first half he is allowed to re-enter in the second half).
Both sides had a few opportunities off corner kicks, but neither were able to seriously trouble the two goalkeepers. Maryland's possession advantage was strong, but failed to bring any real advantage in chances for the Terps.
Another change came after the half hour mark, with one freshmen replacing another. Connor Smith came on for Amar Sejdic.
David Kabelik had a decent look from just outside the 18 yard box but his shot was blocked. On the other end of the field, Max Lachowecki was the man who had the best opportunity for the Irish in the first 35 minutes, sending their first shot wide. The Terps began to finally find some room behind the Irish defense and started to garner more quality opportunities. Tsubasa Endoh slid in David Kabelik behind with a nice pass but he dragged his shot wide. Just a few moments later Corboz had a shot from about 22 yards out sail over.
A huge round of substitutes occurred after the first major end to end action of the half. George Campbell, Paul Bin, and Jorge Calix entered for Maryland, replacing Williamson, Kabelik, and Jake Areman. On the Notre Dame side, Mark Gormley and Thomas Ueland came in for Jon Gallagher and Jeffrey Farina.
With 40 minutes gone, Maryland had a decisive 7-1 advantage in shots and were playing the game in Notre Dame's end of the field, but couldn't create any clear cut chances and had no shots on goal.
At half-time, the score was Maryland 0-0 Notre Dame.
For the second half, Amar Sejdic, Eryk Williamson, and Jake Areman - all players who started the game - came out at the start. David Kabelik who came on for Sebastian Elney and went off for Paul Bin came in. Elney reportedly had been suffering from a hamstring injury.
Areman got the first Maryland shot on goal inside three minutes into the first half, and drew a save from Hubbard. Then it was Williamson showing some of the skill that made him a touted recruit, as he dribbled his way past numerous Notre Dame players and laid off a pass into the path of Endoh, who had a shot saved. Williamson got a look himself quickly after, but his shot was saved as well. The Terps had upped the pressure and pace of their game at the start of the second and were really putting ND under pressure.
The surge from Maryland wasn't over, with Kabelik heading over and Sejdic having a shot blocked. But it was Notre Dame's moment to come close quickly after, as Jeffrey Farina blasted a shot off the crossbar. The tempo slowed down a bit after a fast paced, electric start to the half. Maryland led thirteen to two in shots after the hour mark.
The hour mark also saw another wave of Terp substitutions. Paul Bin entered for David Kabelik, and Connor Smith came on for Amar Sejdic. Notre Dame had tightened up significantly at the back after that wave of shots against them and with 25 minutes remaining the match was starting to resemble what we had seen in the first half.
An incredibly nervous moment occurred for Maryland with just under 20 minutes remaining in the match. Notre Dame got in behind Maryland and a shot beat Cody Neidermeir in Maryland's goal but Mael Corboz was there to clear it off the line and keep the game knotted at 0-0. Jeffrey Farina headed over from the ensuing corner.
Next it was Maryland's turn to nearly break the deadlock, when Paul Bin had a header tipped onto the crossbar. The ferocious tempo that defined the early stages of the 2nd Half presented itself again after Bin's header. Notre Dame had their best run of play in the match, with Cody Neidermeier stopping Jon Gallagher and then Gallagher and Connor Klekota had a shot blocked and wide respectively.
Eryk Williamson, Amar Sejdic, and Sebastian Elney re-entered with 10 minutes remaining in the match. Williamson, who had been incredibly bright and energetic all match long, was at it right again after entering and forced another save by Hubbard.
Mael Corboz had a big free kick opportunity with just two minutes remaining in regulation from 22 yards out, but could only shoot over.
At the end of regulation, the score was Maryland 0-0 Notre Dame. We would go to overtime. Two ten minute overtime periods are used to decide a winner. If there's no goal after those two periods, the game ends in a tie. Golden goal is in play.
Michael Sauers entered the game for the first time as overtime began. Another substitution occurred five minutes into the first overtime, as Chris Odoi-Atsem went off with cramp. Freshman Andrew Samuels came on.
Samuels had Maryland's 1st shot of the OT period, sending one high after a Corboz free kick. That would be the only real action of the period, the score still remaining 0-0.
The second overtime failed to bring any chances for either side as well, and the game finished 0-0.
As I mentioned in the preview for this game, taking their chances was key for Maryland. It was a problem spot for them last year and it remained one here. That doesn't mean there weren't positives. Maryland controlled the game for long stretches and outplayed a Top 5 Notre Dame team. On another day they probably win. It was a good and encouraging performance for this team.
Maryland will be back in action on Sunday at 11:30 AM vs St. John's in Bloomington.