MLS on Campus: Maryland favored as College Cup field set

London Woodberry of the University of Maryland and FC Dallas academy

Photo Credit: 
University of Maryland Sports Information Dept.

Welcome back to MLS On Campus, our weekly look at the goings-on in the college game. Every Monday, we'll give you the week's best highlight, the standout players, which games to watch in the week ahead and, of course, our national Top 10 list.

The NCAA Tournament is now officially down to the final four, with some familiar names and faces set for a showdown in Hoover, Ala., this coming weekend. Check out the bracket HERE

Big Men on Campus

Maryland senior London Woodberry  Since 1994, no Maryland senior class had missed out on at least one College Cup appearance, and Woodberry (above) wasn’t about to let that streak end. The FC Dallas Academy product came up from the back to head home his third goal of the season on a cross from fellow senior defender Taylor Kemp. 

Creighton freshman Jeff Gal – The former US Under-18 national teamer made four saves in Creighton’s 1-0 upset of UConn on Sunday for his seventh shutout in 14 games. The Chicago-area native has to be good to keep his starting position – his backup is coach Elmar Bolowich’s son Alex.

Rank Trending Last College Comment

1

1

Maryland
(20-1-2)

The Terps are back in the promised land for the first time since 2008. A game Louisville side put up a strong fight, but Sasho Cirovski’s side is just too talented all over the field, seeing off the Cardinals 3-1. One of the most exciting teams to watch in the country, Maryland will bring a scoring flair that none of the other College Cup semifinalists can match.

2

2

Georgetown
(20-3-2)

A wild second half saw the Hoyas score three times to book the program’s first-ever College Cup appearance. MLS scouts will be thrilled to get a look at attackers Andy Riemer and Steve Neumann while senior defensive midfielder Ian Christianson could be up for a Homegrown contract with the Chicago Fire in the coming weeks.

3

6

Indiana
(14-5-3)

Guess who? Eriq Zavaleta’s 18th goal of the season in the 60th minute at North Carolina booked IU’s first College Cup spot since their 2004 national championship run. Zavaleta, who was inexplicably snubbed from the Hermann Trophy award semifinalists, will have the big stage on Friday against Creighton on national TV to make his case for a Generation adidas contract.

4

8

Creighton
(17-3-3)

Much like last week against Akron, the Blue Jays rode their luck a bit at UConn, and as the game looked destined for overtime, hit the Huskies with a sucker-punch. With 90 seconds left on the clock, senior Jose Gomez sent a cross into the mixer that Christian Blandon finished from close range, slaying another giant and booking Creighton’s second straight trip to the College Cup.

5

3

Akron
(18-1-3)

With Caleb Porter gone and a multitude of starters either graduating or rumored to have Homegrown contracts in their future, the 2013 Akron team could look vastly different. If new head coach Jared Embrick can recruit like his predecessor, though, expect the Zips to remain as a national power. Huge, huge "if."

6

4

North Carolina
(16-4-3)

The lack of a dominant forward has been the Tar Heels’ weakness all season and it finally put paid to the defending champions as they crashed out at home to Indiana in the quarterfinals. Despite holding the majority of possession, UNC couldn’t carve out enough scoring chances and, when the Hoosiers took the lead, their fate was sealed. The loss ends Carolina's 40-game home unbeaten streak, the second-longest in NCAA history.

7

5

Connecticut
(17-4-1)

When Mamadou Diouf fluffed an early sitter, you knew it could be a long day for the Huskies against Creighton. UConn was probably the better team overall, but when you don’t finish your chances in a knockout tournament, you find yourself on the outside looking in. Multiple seniors from this team will go to the MLS Combine, and Ray Reid could lose a ton of talent if Generation adidas calls some of their underclass stars.

8

7

Louisville
(16-3-3)

The Cardinals learned just how quickly things can spiral out of control when playing at Maryland. Ken Lolla's group was in good shape as the game neared halftime, but a goal with less than a minute left in the first half broke Louisville’s back. Still, a trip to the Elite Eight for a team that produced both the MLS Rookie of the Year and the runner-up says plenty about this program's staying power.

9

9

Notre Dame
(17-4-1)

Seniors Ryan Finley and Dillon Powers have deservedly found their names on the semifinalist list for the Hermann Trophy, and could find their names called in the top 10 of next month's SuperDraft. The Fighting Irish, meanwhile, will prepare for their final Big East season before moving to the ACC in 2014. 

10

10

San Diego
(14-9-0)

The Toreros put up a valiant fight through the tournament and even took a second-half lead at Georgetown, but in the end couldn’t hold out against the potent Hoyas attack. The quarterfinal run was USD’s farthest in the tournament since 1992, and the 5-2 win over UCLA is one that'll be remembered for years. 

 

Highlight of the Week

Check out this great production from Terps TV looking back at Maryland’s big win over Louisville. Next, Creighton played spoiler in front of a sold out UConn crowd, watch the highlights from their upset win and last second goal. Finally, Indiana is back in the big time and their team celebrated in style.

What to Watch For:

College Cup

Follow MLSsoccer.com all weekend as we will be live on the ground in Alabama for the 2012 College Cup. The semifinals and finals will be broadcast live on ESPNU and ESPN3.com. All times ET.

Semifinals: Friday, Dec. 7
Maryland vs. Georgetown (5 pm)
Creighton vs. Indiana (7:30 pm)

Final: Sunday, Dec. 9 (2 pm)