The Maryland men’s soccer team came away with a draw Friday night against Indiana in the teams’ Big Ten opener after a back-and-forth affair in Bloomington.
Senior skipper Alex Crognale forced overtime with just over three minutes left in regulation, while freshman defender Donovan Pines registered his first career assist.
The No. 5 Terps (3-0-2) began the match on the back foot with Indiana pressing high up the pitch. The No. 4 Hoosiers (3-0-2) looked threatening from the outset, and continued to control most of the possession during the opening minutes.
Indiana senior forward Richard Ballard found the open net in the sixth minute, when a blocked shot from Hoosiers defender Andrew Gutman landed at his feet. Terps goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier was out of position, and there wasn’t much he could do.
The Hoosiers rode their momentum all the way to halftime, outshooting Maryland eight (two on goal) to six (zero on goal).
The two teams almost seemed to reverse in the second half, as Maryland came out looking rejuvenated and attacking up the pitch. The Terps still had trouble distributing the ball in midfield, constantly being double-teamed and closed down by defenders before releasing their passes.
Even so, Maryland looked sharper on the ball. The Terps benefited from keeping the ball low and the game soon opened up.
The Terps’ second-half efforts came to fruition when Crognale netted the equalizer. Overtime looked to be in Maryland’s favor, as they notched the only two shots, but the end result was a fair one as the two teams both went to 3-0-2.
Three things to Know
- The Big Ten Conference should not be taken lightly. This year, a host of programs in the Big Ten have talented rosters, and with conference play just starting, Maryland is in for a tough schedule.
- Maryland’s captain stepped up again. Alex Crognale’s second goal of the season was similar to his earlier one against UCLA in that it was late in the game when the Terps desperately needed to get on the scoresheet. True to his armband, the senior defender has a tendency to come through during tough matches.
- Maryland solidified their standing as a top-5 team. The Terps weren’t at their best tonight. They were short on rest, and in soccer especially, that can be a big deal. The college game has been criticized for being more taxing on the players than the professional game, and this team dug deep and pulled out a draw tonight.
Maryland travels to Piscataway to face Rutgers at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday night at Yurcak Field. The match will be televised on the Big Ten Network.