Maryland wins its fourth men's soccer national championship by beating Akron, 1-0, on second-half penalty kick
By Victor Bryant
Dec 10, 2018 | 12:10 AM
|Santa Barbara, Calif.
Senior captain Amar Sejdic scored on a penalty kick in the 57th minute and Maryland held off Akron, 1-0, on Sunday night to win its fourth NCAA men’s soccer title.
“It's a moment that I've thought of since I came to Maryland. I knew that if the moment came I wanted to be the guy to step up and take it,” Sejdic said. “Scoring a goal in a meaningful match like that and celebrating with all the players is something that I'll remember forever.”
Akron's Colin Biros kicked Johaness Bergmann in the face pursuing the ball inside the 18-yard box, resulting in the penalty shot. Sejdic converted the opportunity with a well-struck shot to the right of Ben Lundt after the goalkeeper guessed wrong and dived to the left.
“We're brothers,” St. Clair said. “We're so close. The relationship this team has is sensational, and I think that's why we're sitting here today.”
The goal came on Maryland's first penalty kick during regulation play all season.
“I could not be more proud of this group,” coach Sasho Cirovski said. “We talked about this being a big moment for our program. They were pushed and hardened after a challenging schedule. And now, they're jewels. I am incredibly happy for them.”
The No. 11 seed Terps will face Akron in the championship Sunday night.
Maryland shared the 1968 title with Michigan State and won championships in 2005 and 2008. Cirovski won his third title at the school.
“We needed to sort of get back to the Maryland way of doing thing,” Cirovski said. “One of those things was like Dayne [St. Clair] mentioned, is to be prideful on the defensive side of the ball and make it hard to play against Maryland.”
A small gesture in 2013 sparked a friendship between Amar Sejdic and Paul Bin at Real Salt Lake Academy that has strengthened as the duo powers No. 11 seed Maryland’s offense in the NCAA Division I tournament semifinals.