There is no denying that the University of Maryland men’s soccer team had one of the best seasons in its history — capped off by maybe one of the worst endings in its history. This happy beginning but tragic ending is best summed up in three parts: the good, the bad and the ugly.
The Terps went undefeated on the road and at home this season, playing the usual strong competition they always face in and out of conference. They continued to show the Big Ten how dominant they can be by winning both regular season and tournament titles in their conference.
They also have only five seniors on the team this year, which means the team was already using some of its young stars like Gordon Wild to make this undefeated season happen. The Terps also still have one of the best coaches in all of college soccer in Sasho Cirovski, who his eyes on a national title every single season.
Lastly, like I said before, Maryland has established itself as a national powerhouse for soccer for years to come. The best soccer recruits from around the country are recruited by Maryland and those recruits love to play for Maryland because of the history of the program. It was a devastating loss after a historically good season, but this team will be well-off for years to come.
Despite the team having plenty of young talent, the Terps are losing veteran talent on defense in goalie Cody Niedermeier and 1st Team All-Big Ten Defender Alex Crongale. Two players might not seem like big losses, but replacing a goalie is always hard because he must get used to playing the majority of games while also coordinating with a defense full of young stars like himself.
Not to mention that Crongale was a huge figure on the field whose body could block many passes and muscle attackers off the ball. Expect the Terps to potentially struggle early in the season as they adjust to the new defense in 2017.
This is what the game vs. Providence can best be described as. Not losing a game all year and being up 4-1 in the final minutes of a game only to lose in regulation could haunt a player and coach forever. This team accomplished so many things but ultimately fell short of its primary objective: a national title. I just hope these players and coaches have short memories about what happened this season as they continue to build the soccer dynasty in Maryland.
It’s important to note that the ‘good’ portion of this article is much longer than the rest. This team will be fine under the guidance of Cirovski and with the reputation it has as an NCAA soccer powerhouse. The team needs to move on from this season like any other good program would do after a loss, even after their crushing defeat in the NCAA tournament.