Maryland digs deep, eliminates Akron, 1-0

Other standouts missing, Garey leads No. 2 seed back to NCAA quarters

College Soccer

December 01, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - The Maryland men's soccer team showed off its impressive depth yesterday.

While playing without three players - among them two of the team's most potent offensive threats - the Terrapins still dominated Akron to score a 1-0 victory yesterday at Ludwig Field and advance to the NCAA Division I quarterfinals.

A crowd of 2,010 watched second-seeded Maryland (19-2-1) overcome a sluggish first half and take the initiative after the break, scoring the only goal on a counterattack at 60:43, then continuing to pressure until the finish.

Leading scorer Jason Garey's 12th goal of the season was the result after Sumed Ibrahim gained control of the ball at midfield and passed to Nino Marcantonio, who hit Garey on the right side of the box.

Maryland is now 19-0-1 this season when scoring at least once.

"We were all confident the goal was going to come," Garey said. "We had 10 opportunities in the first 10 minutes [of the second half]. It was a very good counterattack. I just kept myself wide-open in space."

The Terrapins will play host to a quarterfinal Saturday afternoon against Saint Louis, a 3-2 overtime winner over Washington yesterday. The Terps and Billikens met in the third round of last year's tournament, with Maryland posting a 1-0 overtime victory.

Akron, the 15th seed, made a serious match of it for 45 minutes by playing keep-away. But once Maryland began applying serious offensive pressure, it was only a matter of time before the outcome became clear.

The Zips (15-5-2) launched just four shots - one in the second half - and forced Terps goalkeeper Noah Palmer to make only one save. One other Zips attempt hit the crossbar.

"The first half was a little jittery for both sides," said Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski. "But the second half we came out and played with the speed and skill we're capable of."

Missing from the Terps' cast: Domenic Mediate, scoring standout of the team's run to last year's College Cup; Abe Thompson, one of the school's top-10 all-time scorers; and Erwin Diaz, a key reserve from the front line.

Mediate broke his collarbone in the second-round win over Old Dominion on Wednesday, and Thompson continues to be hampered by a foot ailment (plantar fasciatis). Thompson could have played in an emergency yesterday, but he was withheld. Diaz was a late scratch because of the flu.

Cirovski said he wasn't tempted to play Thompson despite a rather even first half in which neither team could muster many scoring chances.

"Akron never really threatened us," Cirovski said. "I felt like it was a matter of us doing the simple things better. If we started taking care of the ball better, the chances would start coming."

It was the first loss for the Zips since Oct. 19, while Maryland raised its home record in the past two years to 26-1.

Cirovski said Thompson "was very close to playing" yesterday. "Another good week and we're hoping he's ready for Saturday."

Goal: M-Garey. Assist: M-Sumed. Saves: A-Christafaris 4; M-Palmer 1. Half: 0-0.

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