Maryland wins third men’s soccer crown
It was déjà vu for Maryland as Graham Zusi’s second-half goal gave the No. 2-seeded Terps a 1-0 victory over 13th-seeded North Carolina in the NCAA Men’s College Cup championship game December 14 in Frisco, Texas.
Zusi’s goal looked a lot like the one he scored in the Terps’ 1-0 semifinal win over St. John’s (N.Y.). That one came in the second overtime.
The win over North Carolina in the final was the Terps’ third over the Tar Heels in as many meetings this season, and it represented the first all-Atlantic Coast Conference final in the 50-year history of the Division I Men’s Soccer Championship.
Tar Heels defender Eddie Ababio blocked Jeremy Hall’s first shot, but Zusi sent the rebound into the left corner from 18 yards out past North Carolina goalkeeper Brooks Haggerty with 23:50 left in the game.
The Terrapins (23-3) won their third national title, finishing the season with a 16-game winning streak and denying North Carolina a sweep of the men’s and women’s titles. The Tar Heels women beat Notre Dame in the Women’s College Cup final December 7.
Maryland took the championship in 2005 and shared another national crown in 1968 when it tied Michigan State in the final.
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to be the last team standing,” said Sasho Cirovski, who became the Maryland career leader in wins earlier this season. “The leadership of the seniors, along with the hunger of the junior class and the sophomore class, as well as the freshmen, made this the most balanced team I have ever had.”
North Carolina (15-8-1), which captured its only Men’s College Cup in 2001, upset top-seeded Wake Forest, 1-0, in the semifinals. Brian Shriver scored early and Haggerty made seven saves to hand the Demon Deacons only their second shutout on the season. Wake Forest had breezed through earlier rounds, pummeling Dartmouth, 7-0, in the third round and South Florida, 5-0, in the quarterfinals.
Maryland 1, St. John’s (N.Y.) 0 (2 ot)
St. John’s (N.Y.) 0 0 0 0 – 0
Maryland 0 0 0 1 – 1
Overtime: M – Graham Zusi (unassisted), 104:07.
Shots: St. John’s (N.Y.) 3, Maryland 19. Goalkeeper saves: St. John’s (N.Y.) ( Neal Kitson) 9, Maryland (Zac MacMath) 1. Corner kicks: St. John’s (N.Y.) 1, Maryland 7. Fouls: St. John’s (N.Y.) 17, Maryland 10.
North Carolina 1, Wake Forest 0
North Carolina 1 0 – 1
Wake Forest 0 0 – 0
First half: NC – Brian Shriver (Zach Loyd), 3:56.
Shots: North Carolina 9, Wake Forest 20. Goalkeeper saves: North Carolina (Brooks Haggerty) 7. Wake Forest (Akira Fitzgerald) 3. Corner kicks: North Carolina 4, Wake Forest 6. Fouls: North Carolina 13, Wake Forest 11.
Maryland 1, North Carolina 0
North Carolina 0 0 – 0
Maryland 0 1 – 1
Second half: M – Graham Zusi (Jeremy Hall), 66:10.
Shots: North Carolina 14, Maryland 10. Goalkeeper saves: North Carolina (Brooks Haggerty) 4, Maryland (Zac MacMath) 2. Corner kicks: North Carolina 6, Maryland 6. Fouls: North Carolina 16, Maryland 10.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association