Forced to limit, Terps beat Akron, gain Cup

Seitz's stops set stage for Burch's penalty-kick winner

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College Soccer


COLLEGE PARK -- The Maryland men's soccer team advanced to its fourth straight College Cup in dramatic fashion yesterday, beating Akron on penalty kicks at Ludwig Field.

After the teams played to a 1-1 tie in regulation and through two overtimes, Terps goalie Chris Seitz became the hero by stopping two Zips penalty kicks in the shootout.

Marc Burch scored what proved to be the winner in the fourth round, setting off a raucous celebration among the 4,129 in attendance - the fifth-largest crowd in Ludwig Field history.

Maryland (18-4-1) will travel to Cary, N.C., where, on Friday, it will play Southern Methodist, which beat North Carolina, 3-2, in overtime. Clemson and New Mexico will meet in the other semifinal.

After falling short in three previous College Cups, the Terps hope this is the year they finally capture their first national title since 1968.

"It was a great college soccer game," Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski said. "Akron is a great team. The game rightfully ended in a tie. I thought it was a very even game. It's unfortunate that both teams can't advance. I'm very happy that we're the ones advancing, I have to say that."

The Terps (18-4-1) struck first when defender Chris Lancos chipped a free kick into Akron's penalty area that found Kenney Bertz between three Zips defenders. Bertz redirected the ball past freshman goalie Evan Bush.

For the second straight game, however, Maryland was unable to preserve a lead, which has been an area of concern for Cirovski.

Akron (18-2-3) tied the game with just 1:15 left in the first half when Justin Sadler dribbled down the left flank, beat a Maryland defender and slid a pass across the goal mouth to Sinisa Ubiparipovic, who pushed the ball just inside the far post.

"In the beginning or end of a half, it's always tough to give up a goal like that," Lancos said. "It changed the momentum a little bit going into halftime, but it didn't kill us."

Maryland sent more players into Akron's end in the second half, creating several opportunities, including a header by Bertz in the 36th minute that was just wide.

Bertz knocked heads with a defender on the play and remained on the ground for several minutes. After being helped off, he did not return. Cirovski said Bertz suffered a bruise under an eye and should be available Friday.

Jason Garey had an opportunity to put the Terps ahead on a breakaway midway through the second half, but was brought down by Akron defender Ossie Michalsen, who received a yellow card. The ensuing free kick was blocked by a wall of Akron defenders.

Stephen King, Lancos and Maurice Edu initially scored for Maryland on the penalty kicks. Akron was not as successful.

Seitz got just enough of the shot by Justin Sadler to sent the ball wide in the opening round. After Lancos and Akron's Yohann Mauger scored in the second round and Edu made it 3-1 for Maryland in the third, Seitz saved a shot by Michalsen to set up Burch's winning goal.

"I thought it was a wonderful college soccer game," Akron coach Ken Lolla said. "I thought the atmosphere was tremendous and both teams played fairly well. For college soccer, I think it was a wonderful event today."

Goals: A-Ubiparipovic; M-Bertz. Assists: A-Sadler. Saves: A-Bush 4; M-Seitz 4.

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