By: Eddie Hobbs
A Monday night match against No. 7 Virginia (1-0-1) at the new Audi Field in Washington D.C. offered Maryland (0-1-2) the perfect opportunity to finally get its first win of the season. Instead, the Terps scoreless streak continued against the Cavaliers in a 0-0 draw.
Head coach Sasho Cirovski said after the game against No. 10 Stanford that he thinks Maryland “took some steps.” The Terps certainly looked good against Stanford, especially since the Cardinals are known to be a terrific defensive team.
But against Virginia, the team still couldn’t find the back of the net. Cirovski thinks that the team looked good at Audi Field and thinks his team battled well given the two day turnaround after playing 110 minutes against Stanford on Friday.
“In the end I will take the result,” Cirovski said. “We had a couple of chances, we could have won the game.”
Virginia is missing its key defender Sergi Nus, who was held out of the match mainly due to precaution. In addition to missing its starting defender, the Cavaliers are working with redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Colin Shutler after Jeff Caldwell departed following last season.
With a missing defender and a new netminder, Maryland had to be efficient in the final attacking third to defeat a strong Virginia team.
They were anything but that in the first half. The Terps had their first scoring chance in the 14th minute thanks to a terrific pass from DJ Reeves to Paul Bin. Reeves streaked into the box and floated it right to where only Bin could get his foot on it. Bin reached out with his right foot and missed the shot wide right of the near post.
Another opportunity opened up for the Terps in the 24th minute due to a foul right outside the box by Virginia. Bergmann centered the ball, and Sebastian Elney was able to get a good look at a header that went just wide.
The second half of the game offered much of the same for the Terps. Scoring chances came in bundles, yet Maryland still struggled to find the back of the net.
Shots by Reeves, Elney and Eric Matzelevich all failed to get passed redshirt sophomore keeper Colin Shutler. In the 52nd minute Eli Crognale found himself open down the near side of the field. Crognale centered it into the box, and a Virginia center back tried to head it out of play, but Shutler also attempted to punch it out of play resulting in the ball going straight up in the air.
Bin looked like he was in position to head the ball into the goal with Shutler still trying to recover his footing. Instead, Bin fell to the ground because of what looked like a Virginia player taking him to the ground, and it left plenty of onlookers up in arms, including Cirovski.
For a second straight game, Maryland found themselves in overtime. The Terps just got two shots off in the first overtime period, but in the second overtime, Maryland appeared to run out of gas with two games in three days.
“It was rough,” Chase Gasper said. “With the humidity and playing Stanford two days earlier, they’re a really high-pressure team, fast-paced team, so it takes a toll on you physically and mentally. But… for the team to hold out a shutout again, I mean, that speaks for the character of this team.”
Virginia was able to dominate possession in the second overtime period and had a few dangerous opportunities. Luckily for Maryland, none of the chances for the Cavaliers resulted in goals scored.
With time running out in the second overtime, Maryland had to act fast if it wanted to end its goalless streak and pick up the first win of the season. After passing the ball back and forth towards the near side of the field. Bin ended up finding Crognale waiting in the box.
Crognale fought through three defenders before placing a cross to freshman Justin Gielen. Gielen got his head on the ball and tried for the back post, but it went just over the net. It was the final opportunity of the night for the Terps.
Maryland’s next opportunity to end its scoring drought will be Friday when No. 8 UCLA comes to College Park. Midfielder Amar Sejdic hopes that the team can put something together for the home crowd come Friday night.
“It’s going to be a loud environment, a lot of expectations for us,” Sejdic said. “I know people want us to score goals, so the crew can celebrate finally.”