Maryland Goes For Title Against Lobos.
Junior defender Andrew Boyens’ goal midway through the first half proved to be the winner as #1 New Mexico downed Clemson 2-1 in the semifinals before 8,645.
The Lobos’ victory, however, was not complete until a header from inside the penalty area by Clemson senior midfielder Randy Albright clanged off the bottom of the crossbar and came back into the field of play.
New Mexico (18-1-3) faces Maryland (18-4-2) in the Sunday at 2 p.m. (ET) to decide the NCAA Division I champion. Maryland defeated 17th-ranked Southern Methodist 4-1 in today’s opener.
“We are ecstatic to be where we are,” UNM coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “We played a great Clemson team tonight. We feel real fortunate. We feel the game could have gone either way, especially in the first half. I think in the second half we were a little bit more dangerous and maybe had some more opportunities and maybe took some away. I just have so much respect for that Clemson team. They battled. This game was everything we could have hoped for that’s for sure.”
New Mexico “did what the had to do to win the game tonight, but I am extremely proud of the way our kids played tonight in terms of the effort that they gave,” Clemson coach Trevor Adair. “It is difficult to lose the game, because I felt like we dominated a lot of the possession. I’m particularly proud of what we accomplished this year and I couldn’t be more proud of the kids.”
Senior midfielder Lance Watson’s left-side corner kick led to the Lobos’ decisive tally. The ball went to Boyens for a header at the far post, but Clemson junior goalkeeper Phil Marfuggi made a diving save.
The rebound trickled to the end-lone, but stayed in play. Freshman striker Brandon Barklage collected the loose ball and played it back to sophomore midfielder David Gualdarama who chipped it back into the box. Boyens was there again and this time the 6-foot-4 defender headed it into the left side of the net to make it 2-1.
“I got the first header off the corner and I was blind-sided a little bit,” Boyens said. “By the time I got back into the play, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
It was Boyens’ seventh goal of the year and the third assist for Gualdarama.
As both teams felt each other out early before Watson earned a throw-in on the right side in the 20th minute. Watson put all of his 5-6 stature behind a toss that made its way into the box. Boyens headed the ball to the far post where Barklage was waiting patiently. Barklage sent a first-timer past Tiger keeper Phil Marfuggi for the 1-0 lead.
“All three coaches kept telling me how important it was to be on the far post, especially on those long throw-ins,” Barklage said. “I felt like I hadn’t been there as much as I needed to during the year. The ball rolled to me and I put it in. It felt great.”
It was Barklage’s second goal of the season and Watson’s team-leading ninth assist of the year. Boyens was also credited with his third assist of the year on the play.
Clemson (15-6-3) picked up its pressure for the rest of the half, outshooting UNM 4-2 and earning three corners. The Tigers’ equalizer came in the 40th minute after senior midfielder Bradley Gibson sent a ball from the right flank into the box. Lobox senior keeper Mike Graczyk made a play, but could not control the ball. Clemson junior forward Dane Richards found the ball at his feet on the left end line and tucked his shot into the open net.
No. 2 Maryland 4, No. 17 Southern Methodist 1
Reserve freshman striker Grahama Zusi staked Maryland to a lead in the closing moments of the first half, then senior forward Jason Garey exploded for a pair of goals within a 15-seconds span shortly after intermission to power # 2 Maryland to a 4-1 triumph over 17th-ranked Southern Methodist in the first semifinal game.
Sophomore midfielder Stephen King made it three Terrapins tallies in a period of 2:20 and Maryland (18-4-2) rolled into Sunday’s championship game. Maryland had lost the last three seasons in the national semifinals.
The Lobos slipped by Clemson 2-1 on junior defender Andrew Boyens’ strike midway through the second half of the second match of the day.
“I was very proud of our performance,” Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski said. “I thought we were sharp from the opening whistle. At halftime, I told the team that we rightfully deserved a lead. In the second half, we came out on fire. I thought we put a very good show today and it was a complete performance.”
With time winding down in the first half, junior defender Glaudemans controlled the ball and worked to the end-line where he sent a cross through the box. Zusi cleanly half-volleyed the ball past junior goalkeeper Matt Wideman for a 1-0 advantage at 43:15.
Garey’s goals were the fastest in NCAA tournament history. Freshman midfielder Robbie Rogers worked along the end-line and his cross was flicked across the goal-mouth to the far post where Garey blasted it home from close range to make it 2-0 after 46:41. Fifteen 15 seconds later, sophomore midfielder Maurice Edu stole a ball in the midfield and fed a streaking Garey who beat Wideman to make it 3-0.
Advancing, “feels good,” said Garey, who moved into the Division I lead with 22 goals. “In the last few years, we’ve been disappointed at this moment and packing up the bus to go home. It feels good to be able to stay here and play on Sunday.”
King increased the margin to 4-0 with a penalty kick at 49:01.
Making it to the final “is an unbelievable feeling,” Terps junior midfielder A.J. Godbolt said. “We’ve been talking the entire year about giving ourselves a chance to win it. And now we’re 36 hours or so from getting that chance and our entire team is really excited about it.”
SMU (14-6-3) countered on with freshman striker Paulo da Silva’s eighth goal of the season in the 55th minute. His shot defected off the inside of a Maryland defender’s leg.