Maryland men’s soccer was in the midst of its best stretch of the season entering Friday night against Michigan State. The Terps had won four of their last five matches, the final two of which came on the road.
However, despite holding an abundance of momentum as well as the home-field advantage, the Terrapins couldn’t match the level of play of the No. 13-ranked Spartans as they fell 2-0.
“I’m extremely disappointed with the result today,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said after the game. “Michigan State’s an excellent team. They were very hungry from their defeat against Wisconsin and came here with a tremendous work ethic and I thought their attacking players were very sharp tonight.”
The Spartans scored a goal early in the 15th minute, and they were able to sit on the lead and contain Maryland’s attack. The Terrapins had plenty of scoring chances, but they failed to convert each time.
“They’ve got a terrific goalkeeper, and they held it down but a lot of it I think we just brought on ourselves,” Cirovski said. “There were too many times where we had opportunities to be really threatening and we just gave the ball away and took shots that weren’t close to being threatening.”
Not only was the attack severely ineffective, but Maryland was also prone to a ton of sloppy play throughout the night.
“Just be smart,” senior Andrew Samuels said when asked on how to clean things up. “We were too high in defending, we need to get lower and watch the ball more. We were just lackadaisical and need to stay focused, stay in the moment and not give up the foul.”
The Terrapins hope to get back on track on Monday, as they’ll travel to Washington, D.C., for a battle with Georgetown. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET and can be seen on HoyaVision.
Georgetown Hoyas (6-3-2, 2-1-1 Big East)
2017 record: 14-4-2 (6-2-1 Big East)
Head coach Brian Wiese is in his 13th season at Georgetown, having previously served as an assistant coach at Stanford and Notre Dame. Since arriving in Washington, Wiese has seen a ton of success with the Hoyas. Under his tutelage, the program has made six NCAA Tournament appearances in its last eight seasons, including four Big East regular season titles and two Big East tournament titles. Georgetown’s most notable College Cup run came in 2012, when the Hoyas reached the College Cup Final, knocking off Maryland on penalty kicks in the semifinals on their way.
Players to know
Sophomore forward/midfielder Derek Dodson, No. 9. An offensive specialist, Dodson won the 2017 Big East Freshman of the Year Award. He led the team in points with 22 (10 goals and a pair of assists), and he’s played to a similarly high level so far this season. Dodson is pacing the Hoyas in goals once again, scoring five in 11 matches thus far.
Freshman goalkeeper Giannis Nikopoldis, No. 0. Despite just joining the program, Nikopoldis has already established himself as Georgetown’s starting keeper. Senior Maurice Coyle has taken a backseat to the youngster, and Nikopoldis has certainly taken advantage of the opportunity. He has started 10 of 11 games so far this season and has posted a goals-against average of 0.85 to go along with a .791 save percentage and five shutouts.
Creating offense. The Hoyas have averaged 1.45 goals per game, a relatively modest number that places them third in their conference. But their trying times haven’t come from a lack of effort. As a unit, Georgetown averages a robust 17.82 shots per game, a figure that places them within the top five in the nation.
Defensive discipline. Maryland has faced a number of physical teams so far this season, and Georgetown will be no different. As a unit, the Hoyas have averaged 13.64 fouls per game, the second-most in the Big East. They also sit among the top 50 out of 205 teams nationally.
Three things to know
1. Can Maryland bounce back? The Terps were absolutely rolling before falling to a top-15 team in Michigan State, but they still have chance to keep the forward progress moving against a non-conference opponent. The Spartans were able to stifle Maryland’s attack, but Georgetown’s back line will likely prove to be easier to penetrate.
2. Will Derek Dodson be a factor? Georgetown’s offense runs through the sophomore, and although he doesn’t have an assist on the season as of yet, his presence opens up the entire attack. So even if he doesn’t put a ball in the back of the net, Dodson could make a huge impact on the course of the game.
3. Does Georgetown hold a decisive home-field advantage? With Monday’s match on Georgetown’s campus, Maryland fans won’t have to travel far to show their support for the Terps. Their potential impact will be lessened due to the start time of the match, but the fans can play a pivotal role in making the Terrapins’ road match feel more like a home environment.