Maryland men’s soccer has found its rhythm. After a challenging start to the season, the Terrapins traveled to South Carolina having won three of their last four matches. That streak continued on Sunday, as they utilized a late push to defeat Coastal Carolina 3-1.
Despite its difficulties early on, Maryland’s attack was the key to the team’s success once again. William James Herve got the Terps out to a lead in the 53rd minute, although that goal would be immediately answered by the Chanticleers. But in the 78th and 79th minutes, Justin Gielen and Sebastian Elney put consecutive balls in the back of the net to run away with the match.
The Terrapins controlled the match from the start, as they dominated in the first half box score. Their first shot on goal came in the eighth minute when Elney ripped a shot at goaltender Chris Datallo, who made his first of what would be many saves to keep the game scoreless. Just two minutes later, Amar Sejdic had a chance to give Maryland the lead. The senior maneuvered his way inside the box and nearly beat the goalie, but Datallo made a clutch save once again.
In the 35th and 37th minutes, the Chanticleers keeper continued to dazzle. On shots from Justin Gielen and Sejdic, Datallo made diving the saves, the latter of which was on a rocket of a shot.
The Terrapins dominated the opening 45 minutes of the game, amassing 10 shots, five of which were on goal. However, they couldn’t find a way to put the ball in the back of the net, and the game remained scoreless heading into the break.
Both teams struggled to get anything going early on in the second half, and that paved the way for an action-packed 53rd minute. Andrew Samuels was driving down the right sideline when he put a through ball to a running Paul Bin. The junior took a touch, turned towards the goalie, and passed the ball across the box to Herve, who delivered a strike to take the lead.
The celebration wouldn’t last long, as the ensuing 30 seconds were nothing short of disastrous. Coastal Carolina immediately began to press following the kick off, and senior Saif Alhameli had possession at the top of the box. He found a cutting Jeranimo Power in close, and the junior’s strike went through Dayne St. Clair’s hand and into the net. After getting out to a lead, the game was tied half a minute later.
Maryland continued to get shots off as the second half progressed, but the quality of the looks diminished. Paul Bin had a one-on-one opportunity with Datallo, but his shot went wide of the post.
Another tie seemed well within the realm of possibility, until Justin Gielen decided it was time to get his first collegiate goal. Eric Matzelevich found a running Gielen in the middle of the box, and the freshman put the ball just inside the right goalpost to take the lead.
Knowing an insurance goal would make things a lot more stress-free, the Terps pushed for a third goal and got one a little over a minute after Gielen’s goal. Bin delivered his second assist of the day, this time finding Elney, who scored on a relatively wide-open goal to push the score to 3-1.
The Chanticleers couldn’t pierce the back line of the Terps in the following 10 minutes, and Maryland was able to hold on for a second consecutive victory.
Three things to know
1. The Terps are rolling. Maryland has now won four of its last five matches, and had it not collapsed late against Wisconsin, the Terps would be on one heck of a winning streak. The play of the back line is still a strength, and the attack has improved drastically.
2. William James Herve leads the offense. Herve scored his third goal of the season in the 53rd minute, and although it was answered just 30 seconds later, it gave him the team lead in goals. He’s only a freshman, but Herve has already made his presence on this program felt.
3. Time to come home. After two consecutive victories on the road at Rutgers and at Coastal Carolina, the Terps will come back to College Park. On Friday, conference play will resume as they’ll face off against Michigan State. The Spartans are currently ranked No. 5 in the nation, and they’ll likely be a tough test for Maryland.