Terps nip Rutgers, 1-0, in NCAAs Eichmann's 1st goal, no-call lift Maryland to 2nd round

November 24, 1997|By Tara Finnegan | Tara Finnegan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The 2,295 spectators at Rutgers University's Yurcak Field aren't going to forget the ending of this one anytime soon.

The Maryland men's soccer team held a one-goal lead going into the final minutes of play, when Rutgers freshman Brett Lasby took the ball into the penalty box. Maryland senior back Leo Cullen went after the ball and Lasby went down as it went out of bounds behind the end line with 1: 20 remaining.

The partisan crowd expected referee Robert Sheeker to call for a penalty kick, but no whistle was blown. Instead, the No. 10 Terps got possession on an ensuing goal kick and held on to beat the No. 19 Scarlet Knights, 1-0, in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Maryland (16-5-1) advances to the second round for the fourth straight season and will meet No. 8 American, which beat the Terps by two goals during the regular season. Rutgers, which carried a nine-match winning streak into the tournament, finished at 14-7-2.

Terps coach Sasho Cirovski defended the no-call.

"[Cullen] was just playing the ball. Leo made a tremendous play. In four years, he's never taken a guy down for a penalty kick and he certainly wouldn't do that with a minute left in the game," Cirovski said. "The referee did a good job under difficult circumstances. This was a marquee match in the first round of the tournament and this has the makings of a great rivalry."

On the other hand, Rutgers coach Bob Reasso was fuming over the officiating.

"That was most blatant non-call I've ever seen," Reasso said. "This is the worst officiated match I've seen in 20 years."

When Reasso heard Cirovski's analysis of the play, he replied, "Well their coach has no clue. Everyone else saw him [Cullen] push him with two hands, so he can say whatever he wants. And I don't mean anything against Sasho or to cause any controversy."

Maryland got its only goal from an unlikely hero -- sophomore Jaime Eichmann, who started at forward in place of Pierre Venditti. Venditti received a red card in last year's NCAA tournament game against William & Mary and had to sit out yesterday because of NCAA rules.

Eichmann recorded his first goal of the season, heading in a pass from Randy Merkel with 32: 50 gone in the first half.

Eichmann was probably the least likely person on the Terps roster perceived as a scoring threat, starting just his third game of the season. Eichmann had been hampered by a nagging hamstring injury all season, and this was the first time Cirovski played him at forward.

"We needed Jaime's size up front because we didn't have Pierre today," Cirovski said of the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Eichmann. "We know we have a lot of people capable of scoring, and that makes it hard for other teams to defend us."

Both teams combined for 22 fouls and five yellow cards were issued. But some will most likely remember the one questionable no-call.

"I felt the whole mass of his body on me and I did a face plant," Lasby said. "But what's done is done. It's sad that after all the effort both teams put into this one, it all came down to that."

Pub Date: 11/24/97

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