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Maryland men’s soccer vs. Michigan preview: Terps play last regular season match

The Terps will try to turn things around before the postseason.

maryland men's soccer Gabe Fernandez | Testudo Times

The Maryland men’s soccer team is right where it wants to be despite dropping three straight games for the first time since 2004, head coach Sasho Cirovski told the media Friday afternoon.

“We have everything to play for. All of our goals are in front of us,” he said. “Our goal was never to go undefeated, but to win the regular season championship and we have our chance on Sunday with a good result.”

The Terps have already clinched a home game in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament, but with a three-way tie atop the table heading into the regular season finale on Sunday against Michigan, Maryland would clinch at least a share of the regular season title with a victory.

A win, however, isn’t attainable without scoring a goal, a task the Terps have failed to do in each of their last three games. Despite 32 shots during the current three-game losing streak, the Terps have been kept off the scoreboard with a handful of incredible saves, multiple offside calls and a pair of post hits.

“We’ve been working on [scoring] and I think we’ve strengthened some relationships and talked through some things,” Cirvoski said. “I think we’re ready to start flying again.”

The game is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. ET and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

No. 19 Michigan Wolverines (10-4-2, 5-1-1 Big Ten)

Head coach Chaka Daley. He was hired in 2011, becoming just the second coach in Michigan men’s soccer history. Daley quickly improved the Wolverines by six wins in his first season in Ann Arbor. Michigan has played a top-20 schedule in all six seasons of Daley’s tenure. Prior to Michigan, Daley served as the head coach of Providence for 12 seasons.

Players to know

Senior defender Billy Stevens, No. 4. A four-year starter, Stevens has played in 68 games on the backline in his Wolverines career. He has just four points over the past four seasons, but he’s helped lead a Michigan defense that has four shutouts this season, including in the last two matches.

Sophomore forward Jack Hallahan, No. 11. The England native is tied for the team lead with 16 points this season, including a team-high six assists. His five goals also rank second on the team. Earlier this season he set a program record with 11 shots in a 1-1 tie on Aug. 28 against Valparaiso.

Strength

Defense/goalkeeping. The Wolverines have conceded just 15 goals in 16 games this season, including shutouts in each of their last two matches against Ohio State and Detroit. After starting one goalkeeper for the first 13 games of the season, freshman keeper Henry Mashburn has filled in with almost better number. In his three games, he’s allowed just one goal in over 280 minutes of play. The Wolverines boast a veteran backline, too, which might give an already struggling Terps offense more trouble.

Weakness

Getting shots on goal. The Wolverines have only put 35 percent of their shots on goal this season. While Michigan ranks fourth in the conference in total shots, it only averages five shots on goal per game. Teams have been testing the Terps depleted backline recently, making goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair to try to make an increased number of saves. The Wolverines will likely have to test St. Clair more than five times to come out of College Park with a positive result.

Three things to know

  1. It’s Senior Day. It’s a very small class, but the Terps will honor seniors George Campbell, Emmanuel Korvah and Jake Rozhansky. Campbell and Korvah have spent four years with the Terps, while Rozhansky transferred from Virginia after his sophomore season. Campbell and Korvah were both freshman the season after Maryland switched from the ACC to the Big Ten, so this is the first class to experience four years in the new conference. This time includes back-to-back-to-back Big Ten Tournament titles and just 15 total losses entering Sunday.
  2. Chase Gasper and Donovan Pines are still “day-to-day.” Sasho Cirvoski said Friday that two of his starting defenders are still day-to-day with a groin injury (Gasper) and a concussion (Pines). Gasper has missed the last three games after leaving early against Wisconsin, while Pines was a late scratch Tuesday night against VCU. Miles Stray and Matt Di Rosa will likely continue to receive more playing time if they are unable to start. Andrew Samuels started 13 games last season primarily on defense, but Cirovski wouldn’t reveal whether or not Samuels would potentially be switched from midfield to defense if the injuries persist.
  3. Keep an eye on Indiana vs. Michigan State. It’s time to scoreboard watch. The Hoosiers and Spartans are currently tied with Maryland atop the Big Ten standings, and will play each other Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on ESPNU. If this matchup results in a draw and Maryland can knock off the Wolverines, the Terps will be the lone Big Ten regular season champions once again. There’s plenty of other postseason scenarios, but most importantly, the Terps would at least be a top-two seed with a win.