BERKELEY, Calif. – Freshman Michael Sauers tallied the game-winning goal in the 86th minute to give No. 5 seed Maryland a 2-1 victory at No. 4 seed California Saturday in the quarterfinals of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.
Sauers found the back of the net from 25 yards after Mikias Eticha found the rookie in space for Maryland’s (16-3-5) 10th consecutive victory. The win avenges a September loss to the Bears. Junior Alex Shinsky also scored for the Terps who advance to their 13th College Cup in program history.
Shinsky put the Terps on the board in the 33rd minute with a header to the near post from close range. Mikey Ambrose’s free kick sailed across the box and found Shinsky for the Maryland lead. It was the first career goal for Shinsky – a native of York, Pa., which is about an hour and half from next week’s College Cup.
Stefano Bonomo provided Cal (14-5-2) with the equalizer five minutes into the second half. After a point blank save from Zack Steffen, Bonomo followed with a tap-in from a yard out for a 1-1 match in the 50th minute.
The Maryland defense was spectacular when it needed to be, clearing multiple strikes off the goal line and limiting a dangerous Golden Bear attack for the remainder of the second stanza.
Sauers put the Terps on the top with his third goal of the postseason when he caught Cal keeper Alex Mangels on a long strike to his right for the winner with 85:41 to play.
“I want to congratulate Kevin Grimes, his players and Cal men’s soccer. I think they are a complete class act. This was the second of two memorable games this year,” head coach Sasho Cirovski said. “Obviously we are ecstatic we found a way to get a result here and we get to continue to play next week in Philly.
“Our goal in the beginning of the year was to return to the College Cup. After being a team that started out learning a lot about ourselves and dropping a few games early, we showed our resiliency, our character, and our championship fiber and have become a very complete team.”
Maryland will battle a familiar foe when it faces Virginia in the semifinals of the College Cup Friday at PPL Park. The Terps topped the Cavaliers 1-0 in the ACC Championship game earlier this season.