By: Brittney Bridges
The Maryland Terrapins (6-5-2, 3-3-0 Big Ten) welcomed the Ohio State Buckeyes (1-11-2, 0-4-1 Big Ten) for a Big Ten matchup in College Park. The Friday night game was senior night, as Maryland honored and started all six seniors including Sebastian Elney, Amar Sejdic, DJ Reeves, Andrew Samuels, Chase Gasper and Dayne St. Clair. The Terps took down the Buckeyes with a final score of 5-0.
“It was a great performance on a special night to celebrate a special group of seniors.” Coach Cirovski said.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have had a rough season with new coach Brian Maisonnueve. Their only win this year came early in the season against Hofstra. They just came off a loss against No. 3 ranked Kentucky who pounded the Buckeyes with a final score of 3-0.
Though Ohio State’s resume wasn’t threatening, Maryland still was focused on playing their best. They would have to do this without two key players with Paul Bin and William James-Herve being inactive in the night’s match. James-Herve went down early in Maryland’s previous game against Denver, in which he never came back in.
“Having both Paul and William out of the match, two of our attacking catalysts this year, really gave an opportunity for our other players to step up.” Coach Cirovski said.
The first half remained pretty uneventful throughout the first 20 minutes of play. Neither team was able to score and was mostly full of back and forth play. But slowly, Maryland got into their flow and the opportunities racked up.
The first major chance came when a risky play caused the ball to be played back to Maryland St. Clair, making him quickly punt it a couple yards past midfield right into the reach of Reeves. Reeves gave a nice quick touch to send the ball over one of his defenders, leaving only him and his other defender to race for it. Ohio State goalkeeper Parker Siegfried came out perhaps a little too early and Reeves opted to send a strike just inside the box, which barely missed the upper right corner of the goal.
It was just a few minutes later when Elney capitalized off of an assist from Gasper. At the 25-minute mark, Elney got a nice touch on the ball, brought the ball behind the back in order to turn towards the goal and sent a low but fast ground ball to the right side of the goal. It would be Elney’s second goal of the season. After that moment, it was all Terps. They finished with 10 shots in the first half, while keeping the Buckeyes to none.
The game was however very chippy, with multiple no-calls infuriating the crowd and the Maryland bench. Sejdic went down when he was tripped by a Buckeye defender leaving him shaken up for a good five minutes after the half was over, though he would return for the second half.
The second half mirrored the first in almost every aspect. Maryland had various chances but the second goal came at the 28-minute mark when Sejdic received a pass from Gasper just outside the box, made a quick touch, faked out his defender and confidently sent a powerful strike that just passed a leaping Siegfried. This wouldn’t be the last goal from Sejdic or the last assist from Gasper, who tied the record for most assists in a game with three.
“It’s a great individual accolade but I couldn’t do it without my team.” Gasper stated on the accomplishment.
Sejdic second goal of the night came at the 20 minute mark. Freshman Bryan Padilla, who played in his third game of the season, slipped off a short pass down to Sejdic who immediately noticed he had room and sent another bullet right to the middle of the goal. Ludwig Field erupted as the senior moved up to become the team’s leading scorer with four goals, passing Williams James-Herve who has three.
“Going into the game it was pretty emotional. It’s like going on the last ride with the boys.” Sejdic said when asked about his impressive performance on senior night.
As time slowly wound down in regulation, the Terrapins still had more in them. The Terps have struggled with the set piece header all season. Donovan Pines, the 6-foot-5 center back, has been the focus of those set pieces, but none of them were able to connect. That all changed at the 14-minute mark when a kick, accredited to both Justin Gielen and Gasper, was sent right in the center of the box. A diving Pines headed a powerful ball right to the left side of the goal.
The last goal came from junior Mike Heitzmann who had just subbed in moments before scoring. He received a long ball and dribbled into the box surrounded by Ohio State defenders before calmly sending it to the back of the net. The five goals scored in the game is the most goals Maryland has scored in a game since 2016.
Ohio State struggled and only had two shot attempts in the whole game, in which none of them were on goal. Maryland finished with 21 shots; their most for the season.
“We can’t complacent with this result.” Sejdic said. “Consistency is what I have to preach at this point as a leader of this team.”
The Terps only have two more games in the regular season before they move on to Big Ten play as they try to earn NCAA tournament eligibility. With this win over Ohio State, Maryland gets their third win in the Big Ten and will continue conference play this Tuesday when they host Penn State at 7 p.m.