November 12, 2016
Kathryn L. Knapp
BIG TEN FINAL PREVIEW
No. 1 Maryland to face No. 18 Wisconsin
Chicagoland Soccer News Contributing Editor
Sunday’s Big Ten Championship final will feature a match up of No. 1 Maryland (17-0-2) vs. No. 18 Wisconsin (11-3-4). The teams were seeded No. 1 and No. 3 respectively in the tournament. The clubs will take the pitch at 2 p.m. ET Sunday at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind.
When the clubs met October 14th at Maryland, the Terrapins fought back from a 2-1 deficit to earn a 3-2 win. Maryland jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Alex Crognale tallied in the 12th minute. Wisconsin answered in the second half with two goals scored in under three minutes by Sam Brotherton and Mark Segbers. But in the 88th minute, Crognale struck again, sending the match into overtime. In overtime Eryk Williamson found the net in the 98th minute, giving Maryland the win.
Sunday afternoon, all bets are off. Wisconsin has nothing to lose. The Badgers have not lost a game since that evening in October. Wisconsin posted a 4-0-2 record during that stretch, with three shutouts and outscored opponents 12-3. Overall the Badgers have outscored opponents 29-13. Christopher Mueller leads the attack with eight goals and 10 assists for 26 points. Eleven different Badgers have combined for the 29 total goals.
Defensively, Goalkeeper Philipp Schilling has allowed 12 goals on the season, with 59 saves, six shutouts and a 0.67 goals-against average. Casey Beyers has helped in goal this season, allowing one goal, while making one save. Going into the weekend Wisconsin ranked No. 13 in the nation on GAA.
“We know what’s coming,” Schilling said. “We watched their last game. We have looked at many videos. One thing is what the opponent does. But one thing is what we do. We’re ready.”
Maryland isn’t a team to take lightly however, the Terrapins moved up to No. 1 in the national rankings the week of September 20th and have held the top position since. The still undefeated Terps have outscored opponents 47-18 this season. Gordon Wild leads the attack with 16 goals and five assists for 37 points and is the third leading scorer in the nation. Amar Sejdic’s seven goals and nine assists rank him at No. 2 in scoring with 23 points. Jake Rozhansky sits in third in scoring with three goals and eight assists. Maryland’s 2.50 goals per game ranked them second in the nation as of November 10th.
Defensively, Cody Niedermeier stood strong in goal for Maryland all season. He’s played every minute for the Terps this season allowing 18 goals, while making 46 saves, posting six shutouts and earning a 0.89 Goals Against Average. November 10th, Maryland ranked No. 13 in the nation with .88 GAA.
Maryland will without a doubt be in the NCAA Tournament ranked second in the nation at RPI. With the draw on Friday, Wisconsin’s RPI improved to 43rd in the nation. A win insures them a berth. But a good showing should also help secure their trip to the big dance. NCAA Tournament pairings will be announced Monday. But first… the teams will take the pitch to find out who will be the 2016 Big Ten Tournament Champion.