[CALIFORNIA-MARYLAND] Maryland enters the Men's College Cup as the nation's hottest team, the winner of 10 games in a row following its 2-1 victory at California to gain revenge for its 3-2 loss to the Bears in Berkeley in their second game of the season.
Michael Sauers, one of four freshman starters, had the game-winning goal in the 86th minute on a shot from 25 yards. Alex Shinsky, the former U.S. U-17, came off the bench to score his first goal in three seasons for the Terps, who advance to their 13th College Cup in program history.
"This was the second of two memorable games this year,” said Maryland coach Sasho Cirovskisaid. “Obviously we are ecstatic we found a way to get a result here and we get to continue to play next week in Philly. Our goal in the beginning of the year was to return to the College Cup. After being a team that started out learning a lot about ourselves and dropping a few games early, we showed our resiliency, our character and our championship fiber and have become a very complete team.”
The Terrapins are a very young team, starting four freshmen and three sophomores. That youth cost them early in the season, but they are finding their form just in time for a rematch of the ACC final against Virginia in Friday's semifinal at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
The Terps topped the Cavaliers, 1-0, in the ACC championship game. Their regular-season meeting ended in a 3-3 tie.
For Cal, which had equalized just five minutes into the second half when forward Stefano Bonomo finished on his own rebound, the loss was its first ever at home in the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s not easy to come into Edwards Stadium and win a playoff game," said Cal coach Kevin Grimes. "This is the first home tournament loss we have ever had, which shows how tough that is for an opponent. In terms of the game itself, I think we played extremely well in certain spurts, and the amount of chances that we created was more than I thought we would have in a game like this. We had so many chances to potentially grab the lead there in the second half, but it just didn’t materialize. In the sport of soccer, sometimes the chances you create don’t always go in, but I am very proud of the way we played, especially in the second half.”
It was quite a season for the Golden Bears, unranked in the preseason but No. 1 within weeks after opening with a 12-0-2 record and big wins over Georgetown, Maryland, UCLA and Washington -- all top six seeds in the NCAA Tournament -- plus Penn State, the Big Ten regular-season champion.
Cal reached the NCAA quarterfinals for the third time in school history (2005 and 2010). Its No. 4 seed was the highest in the 107-year history of the program.
Dec. 7 in Berkeley, Calif.
California 1 Maryland 2.Goals: Bonomo 50; Shinsky (Ambrose) 33, Sauers (Eticha) 86.
California --Mangels, Dean, Neil, Serrano, Birnbaum, Casiple, Sundly, Oldham, Hallisey, Bonomo, Fuentes. Subs: Thierjung, Sekine, Lima.
Maryland --Steffen, Sauers, Ambrose, Dainkeh, Odoi-Atsem, Metzger, Eticha, Raley, Endoh, Tshuma, Mullins. Subs: Shinsky, Jane, Pace.