The Terps (2-3-0) are looking for their third straight win when they return to Ludwig Field after a week-long break hosting Michigan State (2-4-0) on Friday at 2 p.m.
“Excited to play… we just want to play games and we have that opportunity now coming off two good wins,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “The guys want to play and we’re excited.”
Maryland is coming off back-to-back victories against winless Wisconsin and then- No. 6 Michigan on the road. The Terps defeated the winless Badgers 1-0 and took down the Wolverines 2-1, taking advantage of an early Michigan red card. Redshirt senior forwards Mike Heitzmann and Paul Bin scored for the Terps in the Michigan victory.
“That was great to have Mike [Heitzmann] and Paul [Bin] score, you know, very significant game at Michigan, you need your seniors to step up and they did,” Cirovski said.
The victory also marked Cirovski’s 400th career win at Maryland as he became just the sixth Division I men’s soccer coach to win 400 games at one school.
Despite consecutive wins, the Terps are ranked in the bottom third of the Big Ten standings shortly behind Northwestern and Rutgers in both the points and win columns. However, Maryland has conceded just one goal in the last two matches and have shown signs of improvement with positive momentum.
“It has been more connected in defense, a lot more talk has been going on,” sophomore defender Chris Rindov said. “We’ve also had a little bit more energy I’d say back there once we got that first win at Wisconsin.”
The last meeting between these two teams in 2019 was played in difficult weather conditions and the match ended in a 1-1 tie. Michigan State finished the 2019 season 3-12-3 and currently sits near the bottom of the conference standings. Despite their porous early record, the Terps are aware that they can’t underestimate the Spartans.
“We know Michigan State is a team better than their record,” Cirovski said.
“Every Big Ten game is a bloodbath, you know, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing,” Heitzmann said. “We got to just keep working and we’re expecting their best, they’re gonna expect our best so just got to work hard just like the last two games.”
After the Michigan State match, the schedule doesn’t make it easier for the Terps, as they face Rutgers, Northwestern, Penn State, and Indiana. All the teams that are ahead of them in the standings and the margin of error is becoming smaller as the season progresses.
“This is honestly, except for that Wisconsin game, I think this is probably the biggest game of the season so far,” Rindov said. “We’ll definitely have to keep the energy up in the back and keep it going as best as we can.”
The match will be streaming live on BTN Plus and aired on the WMUC radio station.