[MEN'S COLLEGE CUP: Maryland-Virginia] Patrick Mullins, winner of the 2012 MAC Hermann Trophy and Soccer America Player of the Year awards, showed why he is the favorite to win the 2013 awards with two clinical finishes for ACC champion Maryland, which held off Virginia, 2-1, for its 11th win in a row in the semifinals of the Men's College Cup. The Terrapins will meet Notre Dame with which it shared the ACC regular-season title in Sunday's final at PPL Park.
Mullins opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a 20-yard chip after running on to Mikias Eticha's pass and beating onrushing keeper Calle Brown for his 17th goal of the season.
In the 76th minute, Mullins scored his nation-leading 18th goal when Tsubasa Endoh lofted a pinpoint between UVa's central defenders. Mullins took the ball on the first bounce and volleyed into the right corner. The goal tied Mullins for second on the Maryland all-time goals list with 46.
But Virginia, which gave Maryland trouble all night with the play of Darius Madison and Jordan Allen on the wings, cut the deficit in half a minute later when the Cavs were awarded a penalty that Todd Wharton converted.
The Cavaliers' best chance for an equalizer came in the 88th minute when freshman keeper Zack Steffen stretched far to his right to make a one-handed save on a Brian James shot.
“We’re extremely excited to advance and have a chance to play on Sunday," said Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski. "This was -- I don’t want to say typical or not typical -- it was just a different Maryland-Virginia game."
Cirovski went on to praise Mullins, "who found two special passes and had two great finishes,” and Steffen, who "came up with a great save at the end that very few keepers can make."
Maryland’s appearance in the title game marks its first since 2008. The Terrapins are seeking their fourth national championship.
Virginia was seeking its first appearance in the final since 2009 when it beat Akron in a shootout.
“I thought it was, for us -- other than a couple of moments, I’ll call them -- a pretty good performance. In fact, very good,” Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch said. “In particular, at this level, when you’re in a College Cup with four teams left – and we’ve played that team three times – it’s probably the best we’ve played against them, in terms of having the ball, feeling good about ourselves, getting possession. In particular, in the second half, getting at them a little bit more. We just had a couple of moments, and that was the difference in the game.”
Dec. 13 in Chester, Pa.
Maryland 2 Virginia 1.Goals: Mullins (Eticha) 11, Mullins 76; Wharton (pen.) 77.
Maryland --Steffen, Sauers, Ambrose, Dainkeh, Odoi-Atsem, Metzger, Eticha, Raley, Endoh, Tshuma, Mullins. Subs: Shinsky, Jane, Pace.
Virginia --C.Brown, Carroll, Thomsen, Sullivan, McBride, Wharton, Allen, Bird, Zinkham, Madison, Salandy-Defour. Subs: Corriveau, Lennon, James.