Garey is force as bait for Terps

Role has helped UM gain quarterfinals

College Soccer


In Maryland's two NCAA tournament men's soccer games this season, forward Jason Garey has found a defender on his back, kicking at his ankles or banging into his knees almost every time he's tried to create a scoring chance for himself.

As the Terps' all-time leading scorer, opponents have focused on Garey and he's been held without a goal in the tournament. Nonetheless, the striker is proving to be a valuable commodity by taking the attention of defenders away from his teammates, who responded with four goals in the two games.

Today's quarterfinal game against Akron (18-1-3) could provide another opportunity for Garey's teammates to become the beneficiaries of the attention paid him. The Terps (17-4-1) are looking to advance to their fourth straight College Cup, and coach Sasho Cirovski said Maryland's attack is deep enough to respond when Garey is shut down.

"We have a lot more weapons than just Jason Garey, and I think we've shown that," said Cirovski, whose program is looking to capture its first national championship since 1968.

"When playing in the NCAA tournament, you cannot just rely on one person. If you look at our history over the past four years, you will find a lot more players, other than our marquee scorer, have stepped up."

The coverage of Garey has created more chances for Stephen King, the team's second-leading scorer, who recorded two goals against St. John's in the third round, and Marc Burch, who had the winning goal against Brown and two assists against the Red Storm.

"I know I'm going to get my chances ... and other guys have done a great job of finishing theirs," Garey said after the St. John's game. "I know if the defense is going to key on me, then I know that the other guys like Marc and King are going to step up and score."

Akron routed West Virginia, 5-0, in the second round and then beat perennial power Connecticut, 4-3, on penalty kicks.

Akron's only loss came against Indiana, 1-0, in overtime on Nov. 3.

"We've been a balanced team all year," Akron coach Ken Lolla said. "We don't necessarily have one player the team is centered around. It's very much a team effort."

Akron is strengthened by freshman goalkeeper Evan Bush, whose 14 shutouts this season set the school's single-season record.

The game will feature two of the country's most potent attacks. The Zips lead the nation with 3.05 goals per game, just ahead of the Terps' 2.73.

"They're a team that is very good on the counterattack and they're very good on set pieces," Cirovski said.

Maryland lost to Akron in the preseason, 2-0, but that was without Garey and two other starters - defender Chris Lancos and forward Robbie Rogers.

The Terps are 11-0-1 at home and the Zips are 6-1-2 on the road. The winner will advance to the College Cup next weekend in Cary, N.C., against the winner of the game between North Carolina and Southern Methodist.

At a glance

What -- NCAA men's soccer tournament quarterfinals

Who -- Akron (18-1-3) @Maryland (17-4-1)

When -- Today, 1 p.m.

Where -- Ludwig Field, College Park

Note -- Winner will advance to the College Cup in Cary, N.C., against winner of North Carolina/Southern Methodist

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