Terps look to get even

Cirovski says 'good juices flowing' 3 months after losing to Cal

maryland men's soccer

November 29, 2008|By Mike Klingaman | Mike Klingaman,mike.klingaman@baltsun.com

One-zero. That's the score Maryland's men's soccer team hopes to settle against California tomorrow in the NCAA tournament.

The Terps (19-3) lost, 1-0, to California in August on the West Coast in a game that was scoreless for the first 86 minutes. Now, three months later, the teams meet again in third-round play at Ludwig Field in College Park (1 p.m.).

"We're a much better team this time around, but they [the Golden Bears] have earned the right to be here. There are a lot of good juices flowing for this one," Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski said yesterday.

Maryland is ranked No. 3; Cal (12-3-5) is No. 11. The Terps are riding a 12-game winning streak, having blanked George Mason, 2-0, on Tuesday to advance to the round of 16. Meanwhile, Cal has won five in a row, the most recent a 3-2 double-overtime victory over UC Santa Barbara.

Tomorrow's winner advances to the quarterfinals next weekend against either Creighton or Connecticut.

Unlike the earlier game against California, Maryland is at full strength. The Terps played that regular-season contest without starting forward Jason Herrick, and their No. 2 scorer, Casey Townsend, saw limited action.

Maryland will need all its muscle against Cal goalkeeper Stefan Frei, a first-team All American. The only non-Californian on the Bears' roster, Frei hails from Switzerland.

"He [Frei] is the best in college soccer," Cirovski said. "He's big and he's strong, and he made two unbelievable saves against us [in August]. We've got to be good against him. We've got to be precise."

History favors Maryland. It's the seventh straight season the Terps have reached Round 3 of the playoffs. Cirovski's team won the national championship in 2005 for the second time in school history. Maryland previously won it in 1968. The winningest coach in Maryland soccer, Cirovski is finishing his 16th season at the helm.

By contrast, California is a Johnny-come-lately, having won its first postseason game in 2002. Last season, the Bears reached the tournament's second round before losing to Virginia Tech.

"We're confident, but we respect them," Cirovski said. "And we're pleased to play them at home."

In 26 playoff games at Ludwig Field, the Terps are 17-6 with three ties.

NO. 11 CALIFORNIA (12-3-5) AT NO. 3 MARYLAND (19-3)

NCAA tournament, today, 1 p.m.

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