By Tim Ryan
One short month ago, it did not look like the Maryland men’s soccer team would be here.
On Oct. 5, the Terrapins fell 3-2 in overtime at Northwestern, dropping the previous season’s national runners up to 3-5-2 on the year and 1-2-1 in the Big Ten. A conference title did no seem probable.
Exactly one month later, thanks to a 3-2 victory on the road against Rutgers, the Terps clinched their first Big Ten conference championship in the team’s first year in the conference.
Junior midfielder Mael Corboz opened the scoring just four and a half minutes in, although his Rutgers counterpart Rayon Gibbs tied the contest 18 minutes later.
Maryland took the lead for good with a goal from freshman midfielder George Campbell 37 minutes into the first half and fellow midfielder David Kabelik added an insurance tally with 18 minutes to play in the second.
The win is the eight consecutive for the Terps, a streak that has included victories over then No. 3 Penn State and then No. 5 Indiana.
During the run, Maryland has posted a plus-15 goal differential and scored better than 2.5 goals per game, a marked difference from the first 10 games of the season, when the Terps allowed one more goal than they scored and averaged just one score per game.
Corboz has netted six goals during the eight-game win streak – one of nine different Terps who have scored in the month-long stretch.
On the defensive end, the Terps shut out four opponents and allowed multiple goals on just two occasions.
The streak has come during a particularly home-heavy portion of the schedule, with only the Indiana and Rutgers games played outside of College Park.
The Terps (11-5-2, 5-2-1 Big Ten) will host a quarterfinal match between No. 8 Rutgers and No. 9 Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament this Saturday at Ludwig Field. Maryland will take on the winner of that match on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Ludwig.