University of Maryland Terrapins Win 2005 Men's NCAA Championship

By Jonathan Nierman (MLSnet.com) -The Maryland Terrapins men's soccer team won its first NCAA national championship in over 35 years Sunday defeating the New Mexico Lobos 1-0 to claim the College Cup in Cary N.C.

Forward Marc Burch and goalkeeper Chris Seitz were the heroes for Maryland Burch scoring the lone goal and Seitz stopping a penalty kick to help the team finally win the title in its fourth consecutive College Cup appearance.

The last time the University of Maryland men's soccer program celebrated a national title was in 1968 when they were named co-champions with Michigan State.

The top-ranked Terrapins controlled from the early going dominating in both possession and goal attempts. The Maryland midfielders frequently pushed up into the attack creating opportunities for themselves and their teammates.

Forward Jason Garey who will be attending the 2006 adidas MLS Player Combine in January should have given the Terps the lead 15 minutes after kickoff. He took a pass at the top of the six-yard box with enough time to set up a quick shot but his second touch failed him and he shot past the left post.

But the breakthrough came only minutes later and it was Garey's strike partner Burch who got his name on the score sheet. The Ohio native lined up a free kick from 25 yards out which took a deflection off the defensive wall that left New Mexico goalkeeper Mike Graczyk with no chance.

New Mexico's best chance of the half came just three minutes later on a similar set piece. Seitz did well to go down to his left to make the initial save but the loose ball fell right to Lobos' defender Josh Brown who stretched to get off the second shot. Unfortunately for the College Cup first-timers Brown's attempt squeaked just past the right post and away from the unguarded net.

The Lobos wasted a golden opportunity to level things up less than five minutes after the break when they were awarded a penalty kick. Two MLS Player Combine invitees combined to win the chance when midfielder Lance Watson lofted a long throw deep into the Maryland box. Forward Jeff Rowland connected with a goal-bound volley which was kept out of the net by Maryland midfielder Maurice Edu's hand.

Defender Andrew Boyens stepped up to take the spot-kick for New Mexico but his shot was sent much too close to the center of the net and Seitz easily saved diving to his left. Boyens' effort on the rebound was worse lofting the ball high over the crossbar from six yards out with the entire net gaping before him.

Three minutes later Maryland nearly extended its lead. Midfielder Stephen King weaved through the middle of the park to find space for a shot eventually testing Graczyk with a bouncing effort that he expertly parried out for a corner kick.

Garey missed another close-range shot midway through the half. The Louisiana native and NCAA leader in goals with 22 couldn't give Maryland any breathing room when he pounced on a loose ball just in front of the goal following a scramble inside the New Mexico box. Edu saw his shot saved on the line and Garey should have finished on the second attempt but instead he hit the top of the crossbar sending the ball over the goal to keep the score at 1-0.

New Mexico struggled to create offensive opportunities for the remainder of the half and the Terrapins managed the clock well keeping possession and clearing away any balls that threatened their slim lead.

The Lobos had one final chance in the dying seconds sending all 11 players forward for one last long throw-in. It wasn't meant to be though as Seitz rose to collect the ball punted it long and set off the celebrations for the Maryland players and fans.

Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer or its clubs.