The Washington Times - August 20, 2012, 08:43AM

Maryland is having a men’s soccer media day this morning, which provides ample opportunity to look into a few things.

One, it’s a look-in on a team that’s a perennial contender but fell in the NCAA round of 16 a season ago. After a 13-1-1 start, the Terrapins went 1-3-2 over the final month of the season. Nonetheless, Maryland is the preseason No. 9 team in the country and returns eight starters. It is a team well worth keeping an eye on.

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Two, coach Sasho Cirovski enters his 20th season with the program.  He’s made six appearances in the College Cup, won a pair of national titles and has led Maryland to four ACC tournament titles. So that’s a fun subplot.

Beyond the wins, though, is the emergence of Maryland men’s soccer in recent years as a consistent contender for top draw among non-football and non-basketball college programs in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. That was the case during the last school year:

BALTIMORE/WASHINGTON CORRIDOR DIVISION I ATTENDANCE LEADERS, 2011-12

Team11-12 Avg.
1. Maryland football  
42,355
2. Navy football
34,611
3. Maryland men’s basketball   
13,182
4. Georgetown men’s basketball  
11,283
5. Towson football
8,949
6. Morgan State football
6,695
7. Howard football
6,501
8. Maryland women’s basketball
5.356
9. George Mason men’s basketball  
5,161
10. Maryland men’s soccer
3,781
11. Navy men’s lacrosse
3,378
12. Maryland men’s lacrosse
3,334
13. Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse
3,071
14. Georgetown football
2,568
15. George Washington men’s basketball   
2,561
16. Navy men’s basketball
2,453
17. Loyola men’s lacrosse
2,182

 

In many ways, this is a grand part of Cirovski’s legacy. There might not be a program that has truly figured out its niche in a crowded local market and thrived – be it with augmenting the seating at Ludwig Field to create a cozier environment, developing a strong student following, helping to push for more Friday night games and a willingness to play a showcase nonconference home game nearly every year (Louisville, which ousted Maryland in the postseason last year, returns to College Park on Sunday). Here’s guessing that topic (and a few others) come up later in the day.

Patrick Stevens