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Friars stun Terps with four 2nd half goals

By: Michele Kettner

Amar Sedjic scored three goals and put the Terps ahead 4-1 in their second round NCAA tournament game, but the Friars scored four times in the second half to pull of the improbable upset.

Amar Sedjic scored two goals and helped put the Terps ahead 4-1 in their second round NCAA tournament game, but the Friars scored four times in the second half to pull of the improbable upset.

For 65 minutes the No. 1 Maryland men’s soccer team was in cruise control, dominating the Friars and building up a 4-1 lead. But the Terps quickly went careening off a cliff. Providence scored four goals in the second half and pulled off a shocking 5-4 upset in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

“This one’s hard to process,” Terps head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “It’s almost too unimaginable, too unbelievable to see it unfold right before your eyes. We knew this was a game, with the wind swirling, that there could be a lot of crazy things happening, but I didn’t imagine anything this crazy.”

The Terps broke onto the scoreboard just five minutes into the game. A foul by Providence led to a free kick for Maryland. Terps leading-scorer Gordon Wild set up for the shot 30 yards away and blasted it into the top left corner, just out of reach for goalie Colin Miller to put the Terps up 1-0.

Five minutes later the Friars did respond with an equalizer. After a turnover in the Terps offensive zone, Providence took to ball down the field and got an opportunity to score with a two-on-two chance. Midfielder Julian Gressel tipped the ball past top Maryland defendner Alex Crognale to make it a one-on-one situation against Maryland goalkeeper Cody Neidermeier. Not only did Gressel beat the Big Ten Defensive Player of the year, he beat the Big Ten goalie of the year when he snuck the ball under Neidermeier’s dive and into the goal.

Providence started to pressure the Terps more and more after scoring that goal, but the team’s aggressiveness led to another free kick for Maryland. This time midfielder Amar Sejdic took the kick 40 yards out from goal. When Sedjic took the kick, the wind hard, whipping wind got underneath the ball. It looked like it was going to soar over the goal. Instead, the ball came down enough to go underneath the crossbar to put Maryland back on top, 2-1.

In the second half, the Terrapins got two more goals, one by Sedjic and a second by Eryk Williamson. Sedjic’s second of the game came just barely into the 51st minute. Williamson’s goal came with 35 minutes remaining.

It looked like Maryland was running away to a victory. Then, out of nowhere, the Friars really picked up the pace. In the 70th minute of the game, the Friars scored off a corner kick. Defender Joao Serrano took the corner and placed it in front of Neidermeier. He blocked the first shot from midfielder Danny Griffin, but the rebound went to Gressel and he placed the ball inside the near right post to cut the Terps lead to two.

Just 36 seconds later, the Friars struck again. Providence defender Nick Sailor took a shot with the outside of his foot from outside the box. The wind carried the ball to the goal and the shot curled toward the top left post, getting just out of the reach of Niedermeier. And just like that, the Friars were back in the game, only down 4-3.

Even despite the momentum shifting towards the Friars, Sejdic said he and his teammates weren’t too worried.

“I wouldn’t say there was a panic,” he said. “We knew the team that we are and we’re going to keep producing chances. We remained calm, but the ball wasn’t going our way.”

If he wasn’t worried after Providence’s made it a one goal game, he should have been worried five minutes later when Friar defender Steven Kilday tied the game in the 75th minute.

Everything was working for the Friars and the Terrapins struggled to maintain possession of the ball. Eventually, Providence’s pressure broke the Terps again. At 81:49, the Friars took their first lead of the game. Serrano lined up for the Friar’s fourth corner kick of the game. His kick deflected off the left post and into the goal, giving Providence what would prove to be the game winner with the score at 5-4.

“I’m shocked and gutted by the fact that a Maryland soccer team gave up five goals at home,” Cirovski said. “It’s unfathomable. I have to take full responsibility somehow. I’m the coach of this team and my team gave up five goals and that’s going to haunt me for a long time.”

The last time Maryland gave up five goals at home was Oct. 11, 1993 in a 6-3 loss against Campbell. Even more disappointing for the Terps, the loss to the Friars was their first of the year. They ended their season as the Big Ten Champions for a third-straight year but the one loss on their 18-1-2 final record will, as Cirovski put it, be haunting.

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Michele Kettner

Staff Writer
While many people might think Michele attends the University of Maryland for their remarkable journalism program or because it's close to home, it's actually because of their sports (sorry Missouri!). Even though she grew up a Terps fan, it wasn't until her senior year of high school that she settled on attending Maryland, which is a dream place for any sports fan and up-and-coming sports journalist. Michele's love for sports started at a young age. Like most kids, she started out playing soccer in elementary school but eventually moved on to softball, which she played from second grade until she graduated high school. Even though she loved playing sports, her passion for her favorite teams is even greater. She's obsessed with hockey and every season she holds out hope that the Capitals will actually make it past the second round. And when they do, she'll be there to tell the story.

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