GERMANTOWN, Md. – The Maryland men’s soccer team benefited from an own goal to defeat Virginia 1-0 and capture its second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference championship Sunday in front of nearly 5,000 fans at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
With 2:42 remaining, ACC Championship Most Valuable Player Patrick Mullins crossed the ball into the box from short range and Virginia defender Kevin McBride failed on the clear, beating goalkeeper Calle Brown and giving Maryland its third title in four years and sixth tournament championship overall.
Virginia outshot the Terps 6-5 in the match but Maryland controlled the majority of the possession, especially down the stretch late in the second half.
With just under 32 minutes remaining, Michael Sauers found Mikias Eticha for a 15-yard try, but Brown was there for the save. Brown made another stop on Dan Metzger’s 8-yard attempt from the left side with 28 minutes on the clock.
Mullins nearly put the Terps on the board with five minutes to play when the defending MAC Hermann Trophy winner got a solid look from 10 yards on the left wing, but his attempt sailed high.
Unlike Friday’s comeback thriller against top-ranked Notre Dame, Virginia was unable to muster a score following the own goal in the 88th minute and the Terps hung on for the win and the title.
It is the second time in head coach Sasho Cirovski’s career that the Terps have shutout three straight opponents in the tournament and the first time they have won back-to-back tournament championships. Maryland also blanked Boston College in the quarterfinals and Clemson in a physical semifinal match Friday night.
The championship is Maryland’s 30th overall and final as a member of the conference as it moves to the Big Ten in the fall of 2014.
“I’m just so proud. This is a special moment and one of the great moments in my coaching career to walk out of here as the last team smiling,” Cirovski said. “I thought we stood strong. We were very disciplined. We looked to try to play and create chances but knew it was going to be few and far between in this game and it was going to take a moment of brilliance by an individual to create. And the best individual in the land used his will and skill to create something and we won.”
In addition to Mullins, Sauers, Metzger, and Mikey Ambrose were tabbed to the all-tournament team. Maryland will find out its NCAA tournament destiny when the bracket is announced at noon Monday.