Fifty-one seconds after Friars junior midfielder Phil Towler tied the score at one midway through the second half, the Terps drew a foul in their box and senior forward Patrick Mullins converted the ensuing penalty kick to retake the lead.
The victory propelled Maryland (14-3-5) to a third-round date with No. 12 seed UC Irvine (15-4-3) at home on Sunday at 5 p.mThe Anteaters scored with two seconds left in regulation to edge North Carolina, 1-0.
The Terps' 12th consecutive appearance in the third round of the tournament — which is the longest active streak in the nation — was highlighted by their resiliency in the second half against Providence (12-6-4).
Trailing 1-0, the Friars got the equalizer with 21:50 left in regulation. Junior forward Fabio Machado crossed the ball from the left sideline, and junior midfielder Phil Towler redirected the ball into the right side of the net.
But Maryland responded quickly. Nudging the ball down the left side of the box, Mullins passed it back to sophomore midfielder Tsubasa Endoh, who was promptly taken down by a Providence defender in the box.
Armed with a penalty kick, Mullins waited for junior goalkeeper Keasel Broome to dive toward the right side of the net and fired the ball into the left side to give the Terps the 2-1 lead.
"Once that goal kind of came in, I think we remained composed and to our credit, we did up it a couple notches and we got the two goals that we needed to advance," said Mullins, the reigning Hermann Trophy winner, whose goal was the 42nd of his career. "Goals happen in these kinds of tournament games. Momentum shifts very quickly, and I think I've learned that in my couple years here."
Friars coach Craig Stewart, who did not agree with the penalty but declined to elaborate on his reasoning, said the sport is full of emotional shifts.
"There's always those moments in a game," he said. "A lot of goals are scored in those minutes before and after a score. The guys are conditioned for that, but to be honest, we didn't get any help from the referee."
Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski said the team didn't panic when Towler knotted the score.
"I think you saw a very composed group," he said. "The coaches were fine, the players were fine. I could see immediately that after the first kick of the ball, we knew what to do. We just raised the concentration, the urgency, the quality, and we've done that all year. This group has shown tremendous resiliency all year, and that was a moment when we needed it and we got it."
Senior forward Jake Pace added an insurance goal for Maryland with 3:25 left in regulation. The Columbia native and River Hill graduate pickpocketed a Friars defender, turned, and blasted an 18-yard shot past Broome.
The Terps, who enjoyed a first-round bye, appeared energized at the outset of the contest, which may have contributed to the game's first goal.
Freshman defender Michael Sauers outraced a couple Friars defenders to a ball down the left side of the box. From about 10 yards, the Glen Arm native and Archbishop Curley graduate flicked the ball over Broome and into the bottom right corner of the net just 6:11 into the first half.
"We talked about it before we went out on the field, about how we were going to get the first goal," Sauers said. "… A goal like that is crucial. It gives us confidence."