The No. 4 seed Terps (4-3-1, B1G) face No. 5 seed Rutgers (4-4-0, B1G) in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals at Ludwig Field on Saturday at 1 pm.
“Looking forward to the game on Saturday,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “We’re excited to have a chance to play Rutgers in the quarterfinals. I think the way that the season was tough for us and now to be able to be in a position to host a quarterfinal game is an exciting prospect for our team right now.”
Maryland began the season 0-3 and responded with wins against Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, and Northwestern to finish fourth in the regular season’s Big Ten standings.
Redshirt senior forward Paul Bin, junior defender Brett St. Martin, and freshman midfielder Ben Bender received All-Big Ten Second Team Honors. Meanwhile, Bender and freshman forward Jacen Russell-Rowe received All-Big Ten Freshman Team honors.
In its last match, Maryland conceded a late goal against Penn State, as the match ended 2-2 after two scoreless overtime periods. The Terps were supposed to play Indiana on April 4th, but the match was canceled due to Maryland’s struggles with injuries.
After a strong finish in the regular season, the Terps will look to keep it rolling in the tournament against Rutgers.
“We’re buzzing, we got a bunch of good weather this week and the mood is really high around the team, excited to get into the postseason,” St. Martin said.
In the last regular season meeting between Rutgers and Maryland on March 3rd, the Scarlet Knights defeated the Terps 2-0 in Piscataway. The two sides were slated to face a second time on March 23rd at Ludwig Field, but the match was cancelled.
While Maryland has enjoyed strong play recently, Rutgers has struggled recently. The Scarlet Knights started off the season quickly, but have faded slightly as the season has progressed. Entering the conference tournament, Maryland knows it can’t underestimate Rutgers.
“In the Big Ten, anyone can beat anyone, we’ve seen that across the board,” St. Martin said. “We’re taking everyone seriously, but at the back of our minds, we’re always thinking like we’re the best team in the Big Ten and we’re here to win the whole thing.”
While the Terps have been rolling in the later stages of the season, injuries are stacking up. Redshirt senior forward Paul Bin announced he suffered an injury that will sideline him for six weeks, ending his last season in College Park. Bin was one of Maryland’s best attackers with a team-high three goals this season.
“It definitely sucks that how injured we have been this year,” redshirt senior forward Mike Heitzmann said. “But I mean we’re definitely hitting our stride here and I think we’ve figured some things out as a team and it doesn’t matter who’s going on to be on the field.”
“We’ve dealt with some health issues, but I think we’ll be in a good place on Saturday,” Cirvoski said.
The tournament gives each squad a clean slate and focus, and for the Terps, that means placing all of their energy and attention on the Scarlet Knights.
“Right now it’s one at a time,” Cirovski said. “It’s a new season, and this a critical game.”
The match will air on BTN+ at 1 p.m.