The Chanticleers led the nation in goals and liked to attack opponents by aggressively pushing numerous players forward. But it was Maryland's offense that put on a one-sided clinic in a 5-1 victory before an announced 1,847 at Ludwig Field. Sunny Jane scored his first two goals of the season and had an assist for second-seeded Maryland, which hosts the winner of Louisville and Northwestern on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
"Although this was two great attacking teams, I thought the team that was going to win was the one that was better defensively," said Cirovski, who has led Maryland to four of the past five NCAA quarterfinals. "Our guys did a great job neutralizing some of their great individual talent. I'm especially delighted we got some goals out of the wide midfield position. Sunny has been great all year unbalancing teams."
Coastal Carolina (20-3-2) entered the game with a nation-best 62 goals and kept the Terps on their heels early in the first half with their quick attack. Maryland (19-1-2) eventually settled down and was able to get the ball wide to open space for its offense. Mikias Eticha provided the lead on a close-range goal off a flick by Jane in the 13th minute.
Coastal Carolina's Ashton Bennett answered in the 21st minute on an unassisted goal where he turned around two defenders and scored on a low shot from about 19 yards. Less than two minutes later, Patrick Mulllins scored his 15th goal of the season on a free kick and Maryland regained the lead, 2-1. The Terps outshot Coastal Carolina, 6-3, in the first half.
"We've been really good going forward all year," Mullins said. "We've been trying to focus really hard defensively, to defend like our lives depended on it and to make sure we take care of that side of the ball."
Bennett came close to tying the game in the 55th minute but his shot from 20 yards was tipped over the bar by Maryland goalie Keith Cardona (four saves). Jane then gave Maryland a 3-1 lead in the 60th minute when he collected a loose ball inside the penalty box and beat his defender before slotting a ball inside the far post.
"We tried to make the game a not-so-much run-and-gun type game because that team is very good at countering," Cardona said. "I thought we were very connected in the back. Besides the one goal, I thought the 90-minute effort was there."
Four minutes later, Jane scored again from 10 yards to put the game out of reach. Jereme Raley scored off a one-timer from 6 yards off a pass from Jordan Cyrus for the fifth goal in the 86th minute.
"I really think they have an excellent team — certainly Final Four and maybe national champions this year," Coastal Carolina coach Shaun Docking said of Maryland. "It will take a very special team to beat them. They are just so sharp in front of the goal."
Coast Carolina 1 0- 1
Maryland 2 3 - 5
Goals: C-Bennett, ; M-Jane 2, Eticha, Mullins, Raley.
Assists: M-Jane, Francois, Cyrus.
Saves: C-Petrus 4; M-Cardona 4
Half: M-2-1.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun