Fifty years after its first (shared) national championship, Maryland won the 2018 NCAA Division I men's title with a 1-0 win over Akron in the Men's College Cup final on Sunday.
The Terrapins shut down the high-scoring Zips, who had combined for eight goals in the quarterfinals and semifinals but were held to two
shots on goal in the final. Maryland finished with shutouts in all five games to capture its fourth title and first since the great team of 2008 with Omar Gonzalez
, Graham Zusi, A.J.
, Rodney Wallace
and Zac MacMath
The 2018 team might not have the same number of pro prospects -- the college game has changed a lot in the last decade -- but
junior defender Donovan Pines
, a product of the D.C. United academy, has drawn lots of attention with his play against the nation's top strikers. Amar Sejdic
, a product of the Real Salt
Lake youth system, scored the winning goal in the 57th minute from the penalty spot and had a great tournament as an attacking midfielder.
Maryland had the better of play in the second
half and would have won by a bigger margin, but Akron defender Daniel Strachan
headed a shot by Chase Gasper
off the line three minutes before Sejdic's penalty kick, and keeper Ben
stopped a second penalty kick by Sejdic, the College Cup's Most Outstanding Player, in the 76th minute.
The penalty kicks were the first taken all season by Maryland, which
didn't score a goal in its first four games and finished with only 30 goals in 23 games.
"I could not be more proud of this group," head coach Sasho Cirovski
said. "We talked about
this being a big moment for our program. They were pushed and hardened after a challenging schedule. And now, they're jewels. I am incredibly happy for them."
The title was the third for
Maryland under Cirovski. Dec. 9 in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Maryland 1 Akron 0
. Goal: Sejdic pen.
59. Maryland --
St. Clair, Pines, Bergmann, B. Di Rosa, Gasper, Sejdic, Samuels, Bin, Crognale, Herve, Elney. Subs: Reeves, Matzelevich, Lansade, M. Di Rosa. Akron --
Ritaccio, Milanese, Strachan, Mohamed, Harter, Hackworth, Biros, Tojaga, Egbo, Zajac. Subs: Hernandez, Kahsay, Micaletto, Pacheco, Watters. Att.: