Maryland Ends Men’s Soccer Season for Second Year in a Row
For the second season in a row, the Penn State men’s soccer team was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by Maryland. Last year, the loss occurred in the second round. This time, the Nittany Lions made it to the third round before losing.
The second-seed Maryland came into the game with a potent offense and as the heavy favorite. Penn State did a good job to contain the Maryland forwards, resulting in zero shots on goal for the hosts in the first half. As time went on, Penn State began to assert themselves with added pressure, culminating in three shots on goal for the Nittany Lions. In a game with two heavily offensive teams, it came as a surprise that it was 0-0 at the half.
Penn State had no answer for Maryland’s possession game in the second half. Maryland kept control of the ball, leaving the Nittany Lions few offensive chances. Penn State freshman goalie Brendan Birmingham faced added pressure as the game entered the final stages, but none of Maryland’s chances were on goal. A Maryland shot that hit the post in the 84th minute was nearly put in on the rebound, but the game remained tied at zero.
Maryland finally capitalized in the 87th minute on their only shot on goal of the entire game. Penn State attempted to clear a ball in their box with several headers, but the clearance found the foot of a Maryland player who hit a wonderful volley into the Nittany Lion net. With only three minutes left to try to tie the game, Penn State was unable to mount a comeback.
Penn State will now enter an off-season filled with uncertainty, as they lose seniors Matheus Braga, Drew Cost, Andres Casais and Andy Parr. There is also a chance that junior Corey Hertzog, Penn State’s leading goalscorer, could leave to go professional as well.