Offense Explodes In Men’s Soccer’s 6-4 Win Over Villanova

Photo by Riley Rumbley/Maryland Terrapins

Maryland and Villanova came out of the locker room with the score tied at three. Two minutes into the second half, Maryland regained the lead.

Maryland forward Stefan Copetti received the ball in the midfield and passed it to Luke Van Heukelum on the left side of the pitch. Van Heukelum brought the ball into the box and the Wildcat goalkeeper followed him, his eyes trained on the freshman forward. Van Heukelum passed the ball to the middle of the box where Copetti was waiting to tap it in with no resistance. 

Maryland Men’s Soccer beat Villanova, 6-4, at Ludwig field Tuesday night. It was the first time Maryland scored six or more goals in a game since its 6-1 win against Virginia last season. The Terps 29 shots were their most since 2015.  

“Our attack looked fantastic,” said head coach Sasho Cirovski. “We pressed well, we created some great chances, [and] scored a lot of goals.”

The fifth goal was scored by Van Heukelum in the 59th minute off a header near the right post. Kimani Stewart-Baynes ended the scoring with his second goal of the night in the 89th minute.  

Stewart-Baynes started the offensive flurry with his goal in the eighth minute. Stewart-Baynes stepped in front of a Wildcat defender as he tried to clear the ball back to midfield. The ricochet found the foot of Van Heukelum, who lofted the ball to the freshman forward, who hit the bottom of the net.

“Over the top ball by Luke, just had to control it, you know, see if I could find a little opening to shoot in and hopefully, luckily it went in,” said Stewart-Baynes. 

Villanova’s offense answered in the 16th minute. Villanova defenseman Anthony Cousins Jr. shot the ball between the legs of a Maryland defender. Jamie Lowell dove, making the save. The ball rebounded to Wildcat junior Vincent Petrera. Petrera hit the net with his shot, tying the game.

Lowell exited the game a couple of minutes later, appearing to injure himself making the save. Mikah Seger handled the keeper duties the rest of the way. 

The Terps scored twice more in the first half, with each goal being answered by the Wildcats. Copetti’s goal in the 27th minute was matched by Villanova midfielder Branden Johns’ goal in the 30th minute. Bjarne Thiesen’s first goal of the season gave way to Villanova midfielder Gray Ricca’s first just minutes later.

The scoring frenzy sent both teams into halftime tied. The Terps scored more goals in the first half of the game then they had in an entire game this season. The first half wasn’t all good. The three goals Maryland’s defense allowed were the most they allowed in a half this season. The four goals they allowed in the game was the most they’ve allowed all season and the most since 2019. 

The offense more than made up for it with four different goal scorers and two guys who notched a pair of goals each. Copetti and Stewart-Baynes helped power the Terps to their first back to back wins of the season. 

“I think that’s the big plus from tonight is a lot of our players who have been close or snake bit on the offensive end or you know goals were going in today,” said Cirovski. “They got rewarded for their good work.”

The Terps will look to take this momentum into their Big Ten game against Michigan State on Sunday.

“This is big for us and we got to use this momentum to keep going forward,” said Van Heukelum.