COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland midfielder Brian Zeller recalls the childhood dream with a wide grin.
An overtime against Johns Hopkins. The season on the line. And the ball in his stick.
Yesterday, fantasy transformed into reality as Zeller scored the game-winner on a fluke shot with 25 seconds left in overtime as No. 5 Maryland upended No. 4 Hopkins, 11-10, before 11,261 in an NCAA quarterfinal game at Byrd Stadium.
The Terrapins (13-2) set a school record for wins in a season and will march on to their third final four in four years when they play top-seeded Loyola in the national semifinals at Rutgers on Saturday. The Blue Jays (10-4), who had rallied with a four-goal run to send the game into overtime, haven't won a tournament game at Byrd in 10 years and lost to Maryland for only the third time in 12 tournament meetings.
"When I was a kid, I used to lay in bed, thinking about games like this, about overtime and scoring the game-winner," said Zeller, a sophomore out of Loyola High. "Coming from Baltimore, you always want to beat Hopkins. This definitely feels good."
Still, he couldn't have dreamed that he'd score the game-winner the way he did yesterday.
Zeller drove past short-stick defensive midfielder Shawn Nadelen, and the Blue Jays never slid over to help. Zeller then shot from the right wing, and the ball ricocheted off the far left post, hit the backside of defenseman Rob Doerr and landed in the goal.
Maryland stormed the field and piled on Zeller, who only knew he had scored from the crowd's reaction. Hopkins coach Tony Seaman just stood there for a minute with his hands on his hips, staring out at the goal in disbelief.
"Zeller brought his stick up pretty high and I didn't think he had much of an angle, but apparently he did," Blue Jays goalkeeper Brian Carcaterra said.
Zeller, who finished with a career-high five points on three goals and two assists, carried the Terps with his emotion.
On Wednesday, Zeller's grandmother died. A day later, he missed practice for her funeral.
He translated that into intensity yesterday, scoring three of Maryland's final four goals. When the Terps lost possession for the first time in overtime, Zeller grabbed the loose ball for one of his seven ground balls, which ranked second on the team.
And Zeller again rescued Maryland in the waning seconds of overtime. Immersed in a 23 1/2 -minute scoring drought, the Terps had misfired on eight straight shots, including missing the cage on three in overtime.
That's when Zeller stepped up for the game-winner.
It's the first time since 1990-91 that Hopkins has failed to advance to the national semifinals in back-to-back years.
"It's another one to add to my wonderful collection," Seaman said. "We're just tremendously disappointed."
Although the game was tied three times in the first half, Maryland appeared shaky defensively. Late in the second quarter, the Terps were warming up backup freshman goalkeeper Pat McGinnis because Kevin Healy struggled seeing the ball.
The Terps scored five straight goals on just eight shots in the third to take a 10-6 lead. Zeller capped that run with a left-handed shot from six yards out.
After being shut out in the third, the Blue Jays returned the favor, blanking Maryland for the final 20 minutes of regulation. Hopkins methodically chipped away at the deficit and tied the game with 1: 51 left in the fourth on Andrew Godfrey's goal.
On the opening faceoff of overtime, Maryland coach Dick Edell opted to reinsert Brian Haggerty in place of Chris Nohe, who had won the previous two draws. Haggerty outdueled A.T. Bailey, giving the Terps possession they would never relinquish.
"There was a lot of discussion on the sidelines about it," said Edell, who tied former Virginia coach Jim Adams as the winningest coaches (137) in Atlantic Coast Conference history. "I think you have to have loyalty, and Hags has had a phenomenal season. The biggest faceoff of the year and you're going to have him sitting on the bench. That doesn't make sense."
Maryland worked the ball around for a minute before Zeller took the Terps' first shot. Wide left.
Twenty seconds later, Frank Radin winds up for their second shot. High over the crossbar.
Radin took another shot with 2: 07 left in overtime. Wide right.
The Terps then took a timeout with two minutes left and decided to attack the Blue Jays' short-stick defenders. Enter Zeller, who had missed five of seven shots.
But this time, Zeller's off-center shot found its way into the goal. Just like his dream.
"I have special feelings for Zells," Edell said. "He came in as a highly touted freshman and almost ate his way onto the defense. But he's worked hard to get in shape. That's 180 pounds -- depending on what meal he eats before you weigh him -- and that's a hard target to stop.
"But we had several character checks during the game and we passed them all. Now, we're going to New Brunswick. We felt confident in our hearts that we would win the game because this is an experienced team. This is a special one."
It's the fourth straight time that the regular-season loser in the Johns Hopkins-Maryland rivalry has beaten the other in the NCAA tournament. A look at the postseason history between the schools:
Yr. Rd., Site, Result
'97 Qtr, Byrd, UM 11-10, OT
'96 Qtr, Homewood, JHU 9-7
'95 Semi, Byrd, UM 16-8
'87 Semi, Rutgers, JHU 13-8
'82 Qtr, Homewood, JHU 14-9
'81 Qtr, Homewood, JHU 19-14
'79 Final, Byrd, JHU 15-9
'78 Semi, Homewood, JHU 17-11
'77 Semi, Homewood, JHU 22-12
'74 Final, Rutgers, JHU 17-12
'73 Final, Penn, UM 10-9, 2OT
'72 Semi, Byrd, JHU 9-6
Pub Date: 5/18/98