It was déjà vu for anyone who follows the Michigan men’s soccer team. The Wolverines played No. 1 Maryland for the second time in one week and took the game to a second overtime once again, but they couldn’t change the result this time around. For the second straight week, Michigan fell, 3-2, and this time, the loss ended its season.
The golden goal went to the Terrapins. Maryland midfielder George Campbell shielded senior defender Lars Eckenrode from the ball and managed to rattle off a shot to the lower-right corner. He beat the Wolverines’ backup goalkeeper — redshirt junior Braden Horton who replaced injured starter Evan Louro — and maintained Maryland’s unbeaten record.
The Wolverines opened their Big Ten Tournament run on Saturday afternoon in College Park against Rutgers. Goals from sophomore forward Francis Atuahene and sophomore midfielder Ivo Cerda propelled Michigan passed the Scarlet Knights, to win 2-1.
It was a quick turnaround for the Wolverines, who had to play the Terrapins on Sunday evening. They opened the game with a lot of energy, but they were constantly trying to fight their way back after trailing for most of the game.
Michigan senior defender Andre Morris was the first to score in the 30th minute, though not for his own team. Maryland crossed it to the near post, and Morris attempted to clear it wide, but it grazed the top of his laces and found its way to the back of the net for an own goal.
It took just two minutes for the Wolverines to find an answer. Eckenrode headed a ball to the top of the box to the feet of senior midfielder Tyler Anderson, who buried it into the back of the net for the first goal of his career.
Only a minute later, the Terrapins were ahead again. After a slow clearance attempt from sophomore defender Marcello Borges, Maryland connected passes in the box and forward DJ Reeves slipped it past Michigan’s goalkeeper, putting them up, 2-1.
It was clear from a halftime interview that Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski was not pleased with his team’s first-half performance, and his team came out firing in the second half. The Wolverine defense could barely catch a breath due to the near-constant pressure from the Terrapins. It seemed that any time they got near the goal they were a threat, but they struggled to finish their chances.
Michigan had one shot on goal in the second half, and it found the back of the net. Senior defender Rylee Woods crossed it from the left to Atuahene who easily headed it home, equalizing the score.
The Wolverines managed to force the game into overtime. The last five minutes of regulation found the two posts to be the best defender on Michigan’s side, stopping three goals.
The constant pressure on Louro proved to be too much, as he exited the game with an injury before the start of the first overtime period. Horton had only played in one game this season, and he entered the most important game for Michigan this season at the most important time.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, he wasn’t able to keep their season alive.
Michigan’s final game symbolizes its disappointing season. The team almost pulled it off, but just couldn’t finish the job.
“They were very resilient, much like they have been all season,” said Michigan coach Chaka Daley. “The soccer gods went against us a little bit. Certainly in those moments I don’t think we deserved to have that done to us. I don’t think we deserved some of the unfortunate things this year, but that’s soccer sometimes.”