Michigan falls in Big Ten Tournament, awaits postseason fate
For 15 minutes, there was a sliver of hope for the Michigan men’s soccer team.
Hope of advancing past the first round of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2012. And hope of doing it in the most improbable fashion — recovering from a 2-0 deficit on the road.
But with 10 minutes left to play, Maryland tore that hope away from the Wolverines (3-3-2 Big Ten, 8-6-4 overall), scoring two unanswered goals en route to a 5-2 victory.
The Terrapins (3-2-3, 9-5-4) were the first to get on the board. In the 24th minute, forward Sebastian Elney made contact with a cross in the 18-yard box, heading the ball into the net to capture a 1-0 lead.
After Elney’s finish, the two teams battled through a scoreless half. But in the second frame, the floodgates finally opened.
Just two minutes into the second half, Michigan found itself in a 2-0 hole, as forward Eryk Williamson added to Maryland’s tally on a diving header from a corner kick.
It took 18 minutes for senior midfielder James Murphy to instill hope in his team during what seemed like an unwinnable game. In the 65th minute, Murphy was taken down in the 18-yard box, and the senior captain lined up to take the ensuing penalty kick.
He buried the opportunity, and suddenly Michigan was down only one goal with 25 minutes to play.
But in the 80th minute, the Terrapin attack woke the Wolverines up from their dream and brought them back to reality.
Maryland notched two goals in 105 seconds off the feet of midfielder Amar Sejdic and defender Alex Crognale, extending its lead to 4-2.
Fifth-year senior forward Colin McAtee notched a consolation goal for Michigan in the 88th minute off an assist from defender Rylee Woods.
Yet even that goal proved futile, as the Terrapins asserted their dominance with a final goal just a minute later.
Now, the Wolverines’ season rests in the hands of the NCAA selection committee. It will decide the NCAA Tournament field on Nov. 16.