Monday, December 15, 2008

Maryland Soccer Wins the National Championship!

For the second time in four years, Maryland men's soccer wins the national championship after a 1-nil victory over North Carolina in Frisco, Texas.

This was not a typical game for Maryland during the tournament, with most of the play pretty even. The Tar Heels had decent opportunities throughout, more than any other opponent the Terps had in the NCAA. After a scoreless first half, both teams were very chippy with both goalkeepers going down at least twice. In the middle of the second half, Graham Zusi took a ball off of a rebound from Jeremy Hall and fired it into the left side of the net, putting Maryland up 1-nil. Zac MacMath continued to be a wall with a great kick save towards the middle as he earned his 19th straight victory. Maryland would hold on and win the game, securing Maryland's third ever national championship.

Sasho Cirovski and the Terps cap off one of the greatest years of Maryland men's soccer, finishing at 23-3-0 including five victories in the NCAAs with a combined score of 7-1. Graham Zusi scored both winning goals in the College Cup, ending his senior career with the Offensive MVP of the tournament, while Omar Gonzalez's return home to Texas netted him the Defensive MVP.

Maryland is likely to lose some key people come next year. Seniors Graham Zusi and A.J. Delagraza will go to the MLS combine and leave along with seniors Rich Costanzo, Michael Marchiano, and Aaron Chinn. Rumor is juniors Jeremy Hall and Omar Gonzalez might also be invited to the combine and leave early, as did many other players in Maryland's past. But for now, Maryland is the national champion. Congratulations to Coach Cirovski and the Terps for their great victory.

(Photo credit: AP)

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