The season isn’t over yet for Maryland men’s soccer.
The Terps (10-5-3) will head to the NCAA Tournament for the 17th straight season, hosting Albany (14-4-2) in the first round at Ludwig Field on Thursday. Kickoff time is 7 p.m. ET.
This will be the first time since 2009, though, that Maryland did not receive a first-round bye. The Terps have had to play just eight first-round matches in 22 NCAA Tournament appearances under head coach Sasho Cirvoski, earning a bye all other times. Only once under Cirovski has Maryland lost in the first round (2002).
It was an unforeseen last several weeks of the regular season for Maryland to get to this point. Plagued by key injuries on the backline and inefficiency in the attacking third, the Terps dropped their last four games of the regular season before losing a fifth straight in the Big Ten quarterfinals. All five losses came at home.
But the NCAA Tournament provides yet another opportunity for the Terps to start anew. Last year, the anything-could-happen aura of the tournament went against No. 1 Maryland, which lost its first match in dramatic fashion to Providence in the second round in College Park.
The Terps lacked a much-needed rest period down the stretch, but with an early Big Ten Tournament exit, the team will have had 11 days of rest in between its last game and Thursday.
Albany finished the regular season in third place in the America East, but defeated UMass Lowell in the conference championship to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Great Danes have not lost since Oct. 14.
The winner of Maryland and Albany would take on the No. 10 overall seed, Western Michigan, in the second round on the road this Sunday. Also in this region is No. 7 Michigan State, who awaits the winner of Virginia Tech and Air Force.
This story has been updated to add Thursday’s kickoff time.