Maryland men’s soccer suffered its worst loss of the season against Wisconsin on Friday, and exactly how they would react was unknown. But the Terrapins learned from their mistakes and put away a struggling Rutgers team on Wednesday afternoon, winning 2-0 with ease.
Eric Matzelevich scored early to take a quick lead, and Maryland (3-3-2) was able to sit on the lead and effectively shut down the Scarlet Knights attack. But to avoid any potential comeback, Amar Sejdic delivered a dagger in the 78th minute, giving the Terps an insurance goal they desperately lacked last weekend.
Rutgers took control of the match early, and the Scarlet Knights nearly took a lead in the fourth minute. Jordan Hall somehow made it through the back line and had a one-on-one against Dayne St. Clair. The redshirt junior dove to block the shot and got a hand on it, just doing enough to change the path of the ball, which barely went right of the goalpost.
That missed opportunity swung the momentum to Maryland’s side. Sebastian Elney, making his first start since Sept. 3, nearly put the Terps on the board on a header in the 12th minute. But the senior’s chance was denied by Rutgers goalie Rafael Pereira, who made a terrific jumping save to deflect the ball out of harm’s way.
In the 14th minute, though, Pereira had no chance at making a save. Matzelevich was standing in the left side of the box when a cross came in. The sophomore headed the ball across the length of the goal and into the top right corner of the net to give the Terps the lead.
The Scarlet Knights nearly tied the score in the 22nd minute on a defensive lapse from the Terps. Two Rutgers attackers found their way behind the back line, but they managed to stay onsides. Kyle Galloway handled a through ball with his chest and passed it to Bryce Washington, who was standing right next to him. Washington fired a point-blank shot at St. Clair, who made a great save to maintain Maryland’s lead. Galloway nearly scored on the rebound, but the ball was eventually cleared away.
The teams traded shots back and forth for the rest of the half, but none of them were all that dangerous until the 42nd minute. Eli Crognale sent a corner kick to the right post, and Justin Gielen was in prime position to score. The freshman, still looking for his first career goal, put too much behind the header, which missed wide, and the Terps went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
Maryland had a number of set pieces in the second half, as they had five total corner kicks and added multiple free kicks. Johanees Bergmann had a great look on goal in the 73rd minute, but his shot sailed over the crossbar.
After blowing a lead in the 90th minute on Friday, the Terps knew an insurance goal would make closing the match out much easier. In the 78th minute, freshman William James Herve, who has developed into an invaluable member of the attack, avoided numerous Rutgers defenders and crossed the ball into the box. Senior Amar Sejdic delivered to extend the lead to 2-0.
The Scarlet Knights tried to manufacture some scoring chances late in the half, but nothing of substance really developed. The back line held strong and completed the shutout.
Three things to know
1. Maryland got the insurance goal. Wednesday’s match against Rutgers was reminiscent of the Terrapins’ last match against Wisconsin. They got out to an early lead, missed numerous opportunities to get an insurance goal, and limited the opposition’s attack. But in the 78th minute, Sejdic put the match away by putting the Terps ahead 2-0.
2. Dayne St. Clair was brilliant. The redshirt junior posted three saves on the day, which is far from his season high of six against West Virginia. But the quality of his stops was as high as can be, as he stymied two point-blank scoring opportunities in the first half to keep Maryland in the lead.
3. The road trip continues. After starting the season with a majority of its matches in the College Park area (the Sept. 3 match against Virginia was played at nearby Audi Field), Maryland will follow up its conference battle in New Jersey by travelling to Conway, South Carolina. On Sunday, the Terps will face Coastal Carolina of the Sun Belt. The Chanticleers are 4-2 on the season, and they had two matches postponed due to Hurricane Florence.