Terps hope Garey on target

No. 3 Maryland will need his nose for goal when it meets visiting, No. 5 Indiana tonight

College Soccer

October 29, 2005|By TODD KARPOVICH | TODD KARPOVICH,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Maryland men's soccer team's quest to capture its first national championship in almost four decades could well hinge on the right foot of Jason Garey.

This year, the Terps are 11-0 in games in which Garey has scored a goal, and coach Sasho Cirovski hopes that kind of effort can carry his squad all the way to December's College Cup in Cary, N.C.

Tonight, No. 3 Maryland (13-3) will face one of its biggest tests of the season when it takes on visiting, No. 5 Indiana (10-1-5), which has won the past two national titles.

Each team is on an eight-game unbeaten streak.

"We've been on a roll as of late, so we would like to continue that momentum going into the post-season," Garey said. "We've done this the past couple of years, where we got on a roll and just kept it going."

Garey has anchored the offense - rankings third in the nation with 16 goals - despite having a lot on his mind this season. As Hurricane Katrina swept through Louisiana in August, he was suffering for for his home state.

Garey grew up in Gonzales, La., a town between Baton Rouge and New Orleans known as the "Jambalaya Capital of the World," and even though the brunt of the storm missed his parents' home, he said he spent many sleepless nights worrying about other family members and friends who might not have been so lucky.

"It was pretty rough there for a while, especially the night when the hurricane hit. I was worried sick," Garey said. "It takes an emotional toll on you. Soccer and everything else just didn't seem as important. But my family kept telling me to keep focusing on school and soccer and everything would be fine."

Garey took that advice and has put together a season that has made him a leading candidate to become Maryland's first Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy winner - college soccer's equivalent of football's Heisman Trophy.

Earlier this month, he became the Maryland program's all-time leader in goals and points.

He now has 54 career goals and 125 points.

"He's always had a great goal scorer's mentality," Cirovski said. "He has no conscience with regards to his previous miss. He's always sniffing opportunities to score. He has great character and work ethic and improved in all areas of his game."

The game against Indiana will be a rematch of last year's College Cup semifinal, which the Hoosiers won, 3-2, in double overtime. The result marked the third straight time the Terps have fallen short of playing in the national championship game by one goal.

Indiana coach Mike Freitag sees two teams with similar styles and the same motivation - winning the College Cup. His team's only loss this season came against Penn State, which has also beaten Maryland this season.

"I believe the teams are similar in ability," Freitag said. "It should be a great match. I think both squads play attractive, effective soccer. [Garey] is a goal scorer and they are worth their weight in gold. I believe a game like this can only make you better."

In 2002, Maryland lost, 2-1, to UCLA in the national semifinals on a late penalty kick. The following year, the Terps lost to St. John's, 1-0, even though they dominated most of the game.

Garey and five other seniors played in all three of those games and are looking for redemption.

The Terps' lone national championship came in 1968, when they shared the title with Michigan State following a 2-2 tie. They lost in two previous title games.

"We've played some pretty good teams, but we've also had some pretty bad luck," Garey said. "Hopefully, it will be different this year. The experience we are bringing back is huge."

No. 5 Indiana@No. 3 Maryland Ludwig Field, College Park, tonight, 8 TV: CN8

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