By Emily Olsen
14 seconds left in the second round of the 2014 NCAA tournament game between the University of Maryland and UMBC. Goalkeeper Billy Heavner snatched the ball out of the reach of Maryland’s attack.
13 seconds. The number of wins that the Terps accumulated this season.
12 seconds. The consecutive number of years prior to Sunday’s game that the Terps had advanced to the third round of the tournament.
11 seconds. The number of victories the Terps gathered during their win streak that began on Wednesday, October 8th.
10 seconds. The number of goals Maryland’s leading scorer, midfielder Mael Corboz notched this season.
9 seconds…8 seconds…7 seconds…
6 seconds. The number of seniors on the 2014 Maryland men’s soccer team.
5 seconds. The day in October that had marked the last time the Terps lost a game.
4 seconds. The NCAA seed Maryland received going into the tournament.
The scoreboard at Ludwig read 00:00 and several Maryland players fell to the ground. They pulled their jerseys over their faces and out of view of incoming UMBC fans that rushed the field to celebrate with their team. The 1-0 loss Sunday evening ended the Terps’ impressive inaugural Big Ten Conference season.
Maryland and UMBC battled for the first 45 minutes of the game with plenty of penalties, possessions and potential. At the end of the half, the teams recorded 12 fouls between them.
The Terps outshot UMBC 5 to 3 in the first half and had the more powerful offensive performance. As the clock neared halftime, UMBC found a building attack.
In the second half, the Terps lacked a strong offensive momentum in the opening minutes and found they had to fight off an aggressive UMBC offense.
“I thought the game shifted at the beginning of the second half,” Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski said, “I thought UMBC came out with some energy.”
The game remained scoreless well into the second half as both teams fought to find the back of the net.
“This game was going to take an effort goal,” Cirovski said.
Defender Chris Odoi-Atsum stuck tight to the UMBC powerhouse forward Kay Banjo, but in the 70th minute Banjo received a pass and pounded a shot at goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who made an impressive block. The ball deflected in front of incoming UMBC midfielder Malcolm Harris who hammered a left-footed ball into the lower corner of the goal.
“It was pretty much even throughout the game,” said senior captain Dan Metzger. “They fought for that scrappy goal and they got it.”
As the ball hit the back of the net, the Maryland Crew fell silent. For the first time in Sunday’s game UMBC fans could be heard over The Crew as they chanted, “We can’t hear you.”
Twenty minutes remained in the game as the Terps searched for an equalizer that never came.
“When you don’t have a go-to guy that can be your threat in tough games like this you see it really come back to bite you,” Cirovski said.
In a final attempt, Maryland drew a foul just short of midfield. Steffen charged the ball, looking for an opportunity to blast one into Maryland’s attacking third. The play resulted in a Terps’ corner. Mael Corboz, who scored the game-winning goal off of a free kick during the Big Ten Championship a week prior, lined up for the corner and put a ball dangerously close to the UMBC goal, but Heavner punched the ball out of trouble.
“We didn’t have the quality with the crosses and the runs and the combination play we’ve been able to show,” Cirovski said.
With three minutes remaining in the game Maryland freshman George Campbell raced a UMBC defender to the ball, which was easily snatched away by Heavner.
“There were a lot of people that didn’t pick us to win,” UMBC goal-scorer Harris said. “It felt great to prove them wrong.”
The UMBC Retrievers will face Louisville in the next round. As for the Terps, the team will get a short break before starting training for the spring.
“We’re not used to losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament. It’s new to all of us, but it’s part of the cycle,” Cirovski said. “I love this group. I told them this was one of the most satisfying years in my career.”
Two of the last players off the field, senior captains Dan Metzger and Alex Shinsky, made their way through the goal frame entrance that they had passed under for the last four years. As they passed, Metzger lingered and reached up to grab the net one final time.