SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Friday's College Cup semifinal match between the Maryland men's soccer team and Indiana.
Alban and Providence, respectively. Then this season, Maryland was in danger of missing the postseason all together after starting 4-5-3 overall.
Sasho Cirovski, following a convincing 2-0 win over the second-seeded Hoosiers.
Maryland (12-6-4) advanced to Sunday night's final against unseeded Akron (15-6-2), which routed Michigan State, 5-1, in Friday's earlier semifinal.
"Cirovski said," I have talked about redemption all year and our failures. "Now, we are playing at an all-time high."
Maryland pulled herself together by finishing the year 4-1-1 to sneak into the postseason. From there, the 11th-seeded Terps put together with impressive performances against N.C. State, No. 6 Duke, No. 3 Kentucky and now the Hoosiers.
"Since our win against Denver [on Oct. 16] we told ourselves that we needed to be right now, "said junior defender Donovan Pines, who scored the second goal. "Now, we are like brothers. We play for other, we play for others. "
Heading into the semifinal, the Hoosiers had not lost a match since Oct. 3 and had outscored their opponents 22-3 during that time. That run included a 2-1 home win over Maryland on Oct. 12 and a 1-1 draw in the Big Ten semifinals in which the Hoosiers advanced on penalty kicks.
"To a great program like this," Cirovski said.
The Terrapins defense was ferocious on Friday. Multiple times Pines overpowered Indiana's strong wing players, including Indiana's senior defender Andrew Gutman, who scored three teams in the teams' two previous matchups.
Maryland's offense broke through the 37th minute when Matt Di Rosa struck from the right side of the box right past Indiana goalkeeper Trey Muse. It was the first goal of the sophomore midfielder's career.
"I was so happy when I scored. As a substitute you are always ready to come and contribute and I did that, "Di Rosa said.
"Goal goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair said," We knew if we could get that forward and then once again.
Indiana responded by going on an all-out attack to start the second half, outshooting Maryland 11-4.
The Hoosiers' best chance at an equalizer came in the 68th minute when Spencer Glass had a clear shot on the left side with St. Clair out of position. Then, sophomore defender Ben Di Rosa – "Matt's twin brother" – "The Beat of the Ball".
Eleven minutes after Ben Di Rosa's pure-effort play, Pines padded the Terps' lead.
In the 79th minute, a free kick from junior midfielder Eli Crognale lofted into the box and, despite an Indiana defender trying to head out of bounds, landed right in front of Pines.
In Sunday's final, the Terps will try to complete their tear against another program.
Akron, the 2010 national champion and a two-time runner-up, has won nine consecutive games since starting the season 6-6-2. Top of the overall seed, in the round of 16, in the quarterfinals and 1-0 at Wake Forest.
"They have really hit their stride. Cirovski said. They are playing with confidence and their path to the College Cup.
It could be easy to think about the Earth. But Cirovski said only one thing will provide redemption his team has been seeking.
Cirovski said. "This is a great chapter in the story, but the story is not complete, and we are certainly not satisfied at this point until we get that last win.
With MLS Cup, Atlanta United caps an overnight success 50 years in the making
Jalen Smith and Darryl Morsell will lead Maryland basketball back to Baltimore
A.D. Audi fans with XFL and other events
Fox Sports to debut corner flag cams at MLS Cup
Jerry Brewer: Michael Locksley must be in the light at Maryland. He got off to a good start.