Maryland men’s soccer isn’t ready to go home just yet. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, the Terrapins beat North Carolina State, 2-0, to advance to the next round.
For the graduating seniors, a loss at any point means an end to their collegiate careers. And on Sunday, it was a pair of seniors who ensured the Terps would live to see another day as they forge ahead on the path to a championship. Amar Sejdic gave Maryland the lead in the first half, and Sebastian Elney delivered in the second half.
NC State’s attack was completely shut down from start to finish, as the Wolfpack were incapable of taking a single shot for the entire first half and nearly the entire match. It wasn’t until the 78th minute that Dayne St. Clair was forced to move, and in typical fashion, the goalkeeper made a diving stop to keep the opposition off the scoreboard.
Neither team registered a shot until the 11th minute, when the Terps were gifted a goal. Wolfpack goalkeeper Leon Krapf had possession of the ball and attempted a clear, but he failed to lift it whatsoever. Sejdic was in the right place at the right time, taking a touch and ripping a shot inside the left goalpost. On the match’s first shot, Maryland had a 1-0 lead.
William James Herve nearly doubled the lead in the 21st minute, as he had a quality look on goal without a keeper present. However, a North Carolina State defender was in perfect position to clear the ball away, and Herve’s subsequent shot sailed wide. That would be the last shot of the match before halftime.
As the second half began, Maryland continued to push for an insurance goal. After what happened at Ludwig Field just two years ago against Providence, head coach Sasho Cirovski wanted to extend the lead as much as possible.
In the 56th minute, Eli Crognale was granted a corner kick. The junior’s ball came in perfectly to Donovan Pines, who used all of his 6’5 frame to rise up and head the ball towards the goal. His chance hit the right post, but fortunately for Maryland, Elney was in position to clean it up. The senior dove forward, just making enough contact to find the back of the net.
Now leading 2-0, the match was in the hands of the back line and St. Clair. The defense did its job, as NC State failed to register its first shot until 78th minute of the match. And when Aidan Foster had his chance, St. Clair made a diving stop to keep the Wolfpack off the board.
That was the only chance the Wolfpack would have all day, and the Terps held on for a 2-0 victory.
Three things to know
1. Maryland is moving on. Thanks to a pair of goals and some incredible play from the back line, the Terps have advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. After No. 6-seed Duke defeated Pacific on Sunday night, Maryland will travel to Durham, North Carolina, for a third-round matchup to be played on either Saturday or Sunday.
2. The offense scored ... twice. Entering Sunday’s matchup, the Terps had scored just one goal in three straight matches. Obviously, the back line’s performance meant that one goal was all that was needed, but an insurance goal still helped to calm the nerves of the Ludwig Field crowd, which has experienced heartbreak in consecutive seasons.
3. The back line was unbelievable. North Carolina State didn’t score, which is an impressive feat in its own right. However, the Wolfpack registered just a single shot in the match. St. Clair had his easiest day of the year, and it was an impressive showing from the unit that kept this season alive long before the NCAA Tournament.
This story has been updated to reflect Duke beating Pacific, advancing to play Maryland.