The Maryland men’s soccer team beat fourth-seeded Michigan State, 2-1, at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana on Friday to advance to the Big Ten Championship game for the second straight year.
This is the Terps’ second win against the Spartans, beating Michigan State 2-0 at Ludwig Field in what head coach Sasho Cirovski called one of the team’s most complete performances all season in September.
Gordon Wild put the No. 1 Terps (17-0-2, 7-0-1 Big Ten) up 1-0 in the 17th minute, with a sweet left-footed strike from just outside the 18-yard box. Jake Rozhansky started the move, picking up the ball at midfield and weaving through the Spartan defense. The rebound fell to the forward and he struck the ball into the bottom left corner on his first touch.
Amar Sejdic’s penalty in the 60th minute doubled Maryland’s lead. Rozhansky was left wide open six yards out and his hesitation move drew a rough tackle from Spartan defender Jimmy Fiscus. Michigan State goalkeeper Jimmy Hague was unable to save Sejdic’s grounded shot to the bottom left corner.
Four minutes from the final whistle, Maryland conceded an own goal off a Michigan State corner. Terps goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier punched in Connor Corrigan’s delivery. Campbell was able to get a foot on the ball but couldn’t clear it off the goal line. It didn’t end up costing the Terps.
In Friday’s Big Ten semifinal, Cirovski paired Eryk Williamson up front with Wild instead of regular starter Sebastian Elney. While the sophomore has played in midfield this year, he spent most of last season playing further up the pitch. George Campbell, the double-overtime hero from the Big Ten Quarterfinal against Michigan, slotted into Williamson’s usual wide midfielder role.
The Terps and the Spartans went into halftime with four shots apiece and Maryland led on corners, 4-1. It felt like the Terps had control.
In the second half, the Spartans were able to find their feet though, and really started attacking the Terps. Eleven of their 15 shots came after halftime. In the first 45 minutes, they were unable to provide any genuine offensive threat and Maryland looked stout in defense.
The match ended with Michigan State outshooting Maryland, 15-6, but the Spartans couldn’t overcome the deficit as Cody Niedermeier produced four of his five saves in the second half.
Maryland will play the winner of the No. 2-seed Indiana and No. 3-seed Wisconsin semifinal in the championship game on Sunday. The match will be broadcast on BTN.
Update: The Maryland men’s soccer team will play the No. 3-seed Wisconsin Badgers Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Big Ten Championship.