Miracle comeback sends Bradley into Elite 8

Bradley's Chris Cutshaw wasn't exactly sure what happened late Saturday at Maryland's Ludwig Field except that the ball hit his head, then hit his shoulder "and came off really weird."

Bradley coach Jim DeRose was busy figuring out who he wanted to the penalty kicks and says he missed the play.

On the other hand, Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski was convinced it was "a great imitation of the Hand of God goal."

"From my perspective," he said, "from seeing it both live and a replay, it was a clear handball that led to the goal, and it never should have counted."

But the goal counted, ending one of the wildest college games in recent memory. Bradley moved into the quarterfinals for the first time with a 3-2 overtime win at Maryland.

Maryland was up, 2-0, after 28 minutes on goals by Rodney Wallace and Omar Gonzalez and so thoroughly outclassed the Braves in the first half that it finished the first 45 minutes with a 14-2 edge in shots.

But the Terrapins left the door open for the Braves to even the score on a pair of goals in the final two minutes of regulation -- both off scrambles in the area, the first scored by Drew DeGurian and the second by Cutshaw with 37 seconds left.
 
"We played a perfect first half and a very good second half," said Cirovski, "but for the last few minutes Bradley was able to do what they do best which is score off of scrums and persistence."

Both teams had chances to win the game in the first overtime. Bradley's Justin Bigelow nailed the crossbar, and giant Omar Gonzalez was denied by Braves keeper Mike Haynes on a header.

With the game headed to penalty kicks, where both teams had won last Wednesday, Cutshaw won the game after redirecting Paul Tracy's cross into the goal.

Thus continued in triumph Bradley's season that had begun in tragedy when on the eve of preseason practice, Bradley player Danny Dahlquist died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a house fire set after a prank went awry, and three of his roommates, all Bradley players, were charged with arson.

"It's tough for me to take this loss," said Cirovski. "However, I don't want to diminish the resiliency and the tremendous effort that Bradley put in. This has been a phenomenal year for Bradley, from tragedy to great triumph. You have to sit in admiration and wish them the best of luck."

Game summary:
Dec. 1 in College Park, Md.
Maryland 2 Bradley 3 (OT). Goals: Wallace (King) 17, Gonzalez (Zusi) 28; DeGurian 88, Cutshaw 90, Cutshaw (Tracy) 109.
Maryland -- Swaim, Gonzalez, Costanzo, Allen, Delagarza, King, Yates, Marchiano, Wallace, Zusi, Hall. Subs: Flatley, Rodkey, Cortes, Darko, Kadotani.
Bradley -- Haynes, Donoho, Campbell, English, Brust, DeGurian, Hickman, Tracy, Garcia, Anderson, Bigelow. Subs: Wong, Cutshaw, Reedy, Beard, Motteler.
Referee: Nate Clement.
Att.: n/a.

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