November 13, 3016
Kathryn L. Knapp
Maryland Tops Wisconsin 2-1 to win Big Ten Title
Chicagoland Soccer News Contributing Editor
WESTFIELD, Ind. – The No. 1 team in the Big Ten and the nation, Maryland held on for a 2-1 win over the Wisconsin Badgers Sunday afternoon at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind.
“Once again we showed our resiliency and our depth,” Maryland head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “We showed fantastic, connected, determined defending in the second half. We show the championship fiber once again.”
Maryland didn’t waste any time finding the net. In the 2nd minute, Maryland’s DJ Reeves dribbled through the defense and snuck the ball past Wisconsin goalkeeper Philipp Schilling for the 1-0 advantage.
A few minutes later, Wisconsin’s Christopher Mueller was taken down outside the box for a freekick. Mueller stepped up to the ball, sending it into the center of the box. It was cleared by Maryland’s defense and out for a Wisconsin throw-in.
Wisconsin evened the score in the 12th minute. Noah Liabold sent the ball to Mueller, who forwarded the ball to Tom Barlow. Barlow rushed toward goal, splitting two defenders and slotted it into the net past Maryland goalkeeper Cody Niedermeier.
Just before the half, Maryland doubled its lead. The Terrapins’ Jorge Calix bent a corner kick into the box, where Sebastian Elney headed it home for the 2-1 advantage.
The Badgers didn’t give up easily. As the second half began to wind down, Wisconsin picked up the intensity.
With 20 minutes left in the match, Wisconsin’s Rahim Omar had a good look at goal, attempting to tap the ball into the net. Niedermeier made the save.
Two minutes later, Maryland had back-to-back attempts by Amar Sejdic and Elney. Schilling stopped the first one, while the second soared out for a corner kick.
Mueller blasted an attempt right into Neidermeier’s arms in the 79th minute. With just under seven minutes left in the match, Schilling ran up to the center of the field to take a kick for Wisconsin. He sent it into the box. After a flurry of events, the referee whistled Wisconsin offside, turning the ball back to Maryland.
Wisconsin continued to push, with Schilling coming off his line and trying to fire up the offense. Maryland pushed in the 86th minute, but the ball was cleared by Wisconsin. Reeves broke away again for Maryland seconds later, but the Badgers defense shut him down in the box. Wisconsin blasted the ball toward goal in the 87th minute. Niedermeier bobbled the ball, before finally landing on it for the save.
“This was a very good, motivated Wisconsin team,” Cirovski said. “Niedermeier made two world class saves. I thought we were the deserving winners today.”
Wisconsin’s Isaac Schlenker sent the ball over the net with 12 seconds left on the clock. That would be it as Maryland would hold on for the 2-1 win.
“We knew it was going to be difficult,” Wisconsin head coach John Trask said. “We started to compose our defense well. We didn’t get the second goal. It was disappointing. They proved why they’re undefeated.”
Maryland improved to 18-0-2 on the season, while the Badgers fell to 11-4-4. Maryland will undoubtedly be a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. Wisconsin, will await their fate. The NCAA will announce the Tournament field on Monday.