The unbeaten Maryland men’s soccer team came away with a crucial 1-0 victory against No. 24 West Virginia Monday night in Morgantown.
Amar Sejdic gave the Terps the lead in the 26th minute, while the team played terrific defense throughout, with West Virginia dominating possession and creating more chances.
The Mountaineers played an extremely physical, attacking style of soccer, outshooting Maryland 15-8 while committing 17 fouls. The Terps, however, did hold a 7-1 advantage in corners.
Maryland goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier had one of his best games all season between the sticks, recording eight saves.
The No. 1 Terps (9-0-2, 5-0-1 Big Ten) came into the game red-hot, having won the past four games by a margin of at least two goals. West Virginia (6-3-1), while being ranked 22nd in the nation, had lost its past two matches, including a 2-1 overtime loss to Saint Mary’s (Calif.).
Sejdic’s fifth goal of the season came completely against the run of play, as the Mountaineers had looked much more threatening in the opening minutes. Jake Rozhansky was awarded the assist.
West Virginia began the match playing off the ball, sitting back and waiting for the opportunity to counter. The Mountaineers really began to take a hold of possession about halfway through the first half.
Maryland’s usual 4-4-2 formation saw one major change tonight, as freshman Miles Stray got his first career start, slotting in for senior captain Alex Crognale. The defender impressed early but looked shaky towards the end; he was booked by the referee in the 70th minute. Donovan Pines came on in relief in the 73rd minute.
On paper, the Mountaineers were slightly more dominant after the first 45 minutes. At halftime, the Terps were being outshot by West Virginia 7-5, with Sejdic’s 25th-minute strike being the only shot on goal.
The second half was a completely different story, as West Virginia pounded the penalty box with a barrage of shots. The Terps played on the back foot for almost the entire half, clearing almost every opportunity thanks to a well-organized back line.
Cody Albrecht was instrumental in the Terps’ victory, playing in the holding midfielder role. He provided the mettle required in this gritty win.
Maryland returns to Ludwig field on Friday to begin a four-game homestand against Wisconsin. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be broadcast on BTN Plus.