In the 15th minute of the match against the undefeated Michigan Wolverines, Maryland men’s soccer was finally able to do what it couldn’t just two games ago.
The Terps found themselves with a man-advantage after Michigan’s sophomore goalie Owen Finnerty was sent off with a red card in the 8th minute. Maryland had a similar situation against Rutgers, in which it had an extra man for about 40 minutes. Against the Scarlet Knights, the Terps couldn’t score. This time, however, Maryland made no mistake with its advantage on the pitch.
Midfielder/defender redshirt sophomore Nick Richardson worked the ball into Michigan’s defensive third and fed the ball inside to forward redshirt senior Mike Heitzmann, who was able to bury his first goal of the season and put Maryland ahead 1-0 in the early goings.
Michigan’s red card would prove critical, as Maryland would have a man-up for the rest of the match. The Terps never relinquished their lead with the man-advantage and they eventually took down the first-place Wolverines, 2-1, Thursday afternoon.
“I am ecstatic with the result against a good Michigan team,” Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “Our guys are starting to feel their connectivity and it is showing in our play on both sides of the ball. We benefited from the Michigan red card, but credit Michigan with a tremendous effort until the last minute.”
The Terps’ second win of the season marked Cirovski’s 400th win with the men’s soccer program at the University of Maryland. He became just the sixth Division I men’s soccer head coach to win 400 matches at one school with the road victory.
The Terps are now 2-3 on the year and have six points to show for it. They are now tied with Indiana, Penn State and Northwestern for a spot in the middle of the Big Ten standings halfway through the regular season.
Maryland came right out of the gates with a golden opportunity after a Terp was taken down in the box. The Terps were awarded an early penalty, but couldn’t convert as freshman midfielder Joe Suchecki missed a strike from the spot in the 5th minute.
Then, the Terps struck a bit of luck soon after as Finnerty was sent off with a red card in the 8th minute for Michigan.
Maryland was able to get to work with the critical man-advantage and made no mistake with its extended opportunities. Heitzmann potted Maryland’s fourth team goal of the season in the 15th minute to give the Terps the lead.
Up to that point, the Wolverines had outscored their opponents 6-1 through three matches. Heitzmann’s tally was just the second goal conceded by Michigan’s defense back line. It was the first goal given up by the Wolverines since Feb. 19.
Michigan would try and provide a response to the early goal for the rest of the half, but the Terps’ man-advantage proved to be too much for the time being. Both teams ended the half with two shots on goal apiece, but Maryland would finish the first 45 minutes with a 1-0 lead.
The second half saw the Terps continue their press into the Wolverines’ defensive end as freshman Jacen Russell-Rowe, who leads Maryland in scoring this season, put forth the first shot on target of the half, which was blocked away by backup freshman goalie Ethan Wood in the opening minutes.
The Terps would eventually find their insurance goal with the feet of redshirt senior forward and captain Paul Bin in the 70th minute. A feed from Richardson, who tallied his second assist of the day, found Bin for Maryland’s second goal of the afternoon, which proved to be the game-winner.
“Nick Richardson had two fantastic services from right back, his natural position,” Cirovski said. “To see our seniors in Mike (Heitzmann) and Paul (Bin) score was a reward for their effort throughout the match.”
However, despite the two-goal lead, Michigan wouldn’t relent even with a man-down in the final 20 minutes.
The Wolverines would answer back with a quick response as senior defenseman Jackson Ragen put home Michigan’s first goal of the game to bring the score back to 2-1 in favor of Maryland in just the 73rd minute. Ragen’s goal was just the first shot on target Michigan had in the second half up to that point.
Maryland would go on to hold on with the lead for the rest of the match as the man-advantage was too much for Michigan to overcome. The clock expired as the Terps had officially collected their second-straight win.
Three Things to Know
1. Maryland finally capitalized with the man-advantage. Just two games ago, Maryland struggled to put the finishing touches with an extra man on the pitch against Rutgers. In fact, the Terps gave up more goals than they scored with the man-advantage against the Scarlet Knights. However, Maryland was able to score after Michigan's goalie was given a red card, and the Terps never looked back en route to their second win of the season.
2. Bin gets his first goal of the season. The captain came through big time for the Maryland and Cirovski late in the match. Prior to his first goal of the season, Bin had just one shot on goal through four matches. His goal marks a good sign for Maryland’s offense moving forward, especially with senior forward Eric Matzelevich still out with an injury.
3. Maryland gets a huge road win against its toughest opponent yet. After a 0-3 start to the season, in which only 10 regular-season games will be played, every point matters for a Maryland team that is still finding its footing. For the win to come against the 3-0, first-place team in the Big Ten is of even greater importance. This victory for Cirovski’s squad is just another step back in the road as the second half of the season is upon us.