Terps men don't expect to roll past Bradley

College Soccer

December 01, 2007|By Patrick Gutierrez | Patrick Gutierrez,Sun reporter

If recent history is any indication, tournament seeding will mean nothing when the Terps host Bradley in the third round of the 2007 NCAA men's soccer championship tonight at 6 at Ludwig Field.

Maryland, the 2005 national champion, is seeded 13th and has seen top-seeded Boston College and fourth-seeded Indiana lose. So, the Terps know not to underestimate the Braves, who extended their unbeaten streak to five games after defeating Indiana on penalty kicks in the second round.

"Bradley is an extremely competitive, highly spirited team," said Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski, whose team is in the third round for the sixth consecutive season. "They've proven that they can win on the road against big-name teams."

The Terps (10-5-5), who beat Loyola in the second round on penalty kicks, are led on offense by a pair of versatile forwards, junior Graham Zusi and sophomore Drew Yates. The duo is tied for the team lead with 17 points each.

Zusi ended the regular season on a tear, with four goals in three games, including the game-winner at North Carolina.

Yates' eight goals lead the team, and Cirovski is counting on him to be a difference-maker tonight.

"Drew's scored a lot of big goals for us this year," Cirovski said. "He has the best one-on-one ability on our team and a great ability to unbalance an opponent."

At the other end of the field, Maryland has also gotten solid play. Freshman goalkeepers Will Swaim (Howard) and Thorne Holder have split time all season. Swaim started 11 games, posting a 6-3-3 record with a 0.73 goals-against average. He also has four shutouts.

Holder has been nearly as impressive, going 4-2-2 with a 1.19 goals-against average and two shutouts. They each played against the Greyhounds, with Swaim starting and Holder replacing him for the shootout.

The winner of tonight's game will face the winner of the match between Ohio State and defending champion University of California-Santa Barbara.

The Terps are favored, but Cirovski said his team can't lose its focus against Bradley (15-5-4), which has lost only once in its past 12 matches.

"They are a team on a mission," Cirovski said.

patrick.gutierrez@baltsun.com

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