No. 5 Maryland vs. No. 8 Virginia | College Cup Semifinals Preview

Patrick Mullins in action with Maryland

Photo Credit: 
Maryland Athletics

Semifinal No. 2

No. 5 Maryland (16-3-5, 7-1-3 ACC) vs. No. 8 Virginia (13-5-5, 4-3-4 ACC)

7:30 pm ET; ESPNU

Path to the Semifinals

Maryland:

  • Round of 32: Maryland 3, Providence 1
  • Sweet 16: Maryland 1, UC Irvine 0
  • Elite 8: California 1, Maryland 2

Virginia:

  • Round of 32: Virginia 2, St. John’s 0
  • Sweet 16: Virginia 3, Marquette 1
  • Elite 8: Virginia 2, Connecticut 1

Preview

Virginia came within a hair’s breadth of winning the ACC championship this year but fell 1-0 in the final to Maryland on an 88th-minute own-goal engineered by the reigning Hermann Trophy winner, Patrick Mullins.

Mullins has 16 goals and eight assists on the season, with two goals and an assist in the Terrapins’ three tournament games, but he’s certainly not the only offensive weapon in a stacked Maryland squad. The Terps defense, meanwhile, has improved dramatically since the beginning of the year, with freshman goalkeeper Zack Steffen coming up big down the stretch.

They’ll have their hands full with Virginia sophomore forward Darius Madison, and goalkeeper Calle Brown has been coming on strong since being named the starter in early November. The key for Virginia will be to stay organized on defense and avoid finding themselves in one-on-ones with Maryland’s cadre of talented attackers like Mullins, Schillo Tshuma, Tsubasa Endoh and Michael Sauers.


Future Pros to Watch

Patrick Mullins, F, Maryland – This is a no-brainer. Mullins has scored 33 goals in the last two years and has a chance to pick up a few more before the end of this season. A striker with a good read on the game, Mullins makes smart runs to find himself in the right place at the right time, and with 18 assists since the beginning of last season, he can also pick out the right pass when the situation calls for it. You'll see him go somewhere in the top five picks of the 2014 SuperDraft.

Zack Steffen, GK, Maryland (Philadelphia Union) – In fairness, Steffen is just coming to the end of his first season at Maryland, so we’re a long ways off from his first start as a professional. But to see his maturation from the beginning of the season – when you could see his talent just as clearly as you could see that he was a freshman – to now is pretty spectacular. He has stood on his head to keep the Terps in some games, so have fun extrapolating that, Union fans.

Darius Madison, F, Virginia (Philadelphia Union) – At 5-foot-8 and 160 pounds, it’s not surprising that your average center back can body Madison off the ball. But that’s about the only way to stop him. He has pace, skill and ruthlessness in his runs at opposing defenses, making him able to create his own shot or open up space for his teammates.