Maryland midfielder Kevin Cooper will not play in Saturday’s game against Virginia after participating in a fight at the end of the Terrapins’ 11-10 loss at North Carolina, coach John Tillman said Monday.
Cooper was ejected for fighting with North Carolina’s Greg McBride with 40 seconds remaining. The NCAA rulebook stipulates a player ejected for fighting is suspended for his team’s next game. Both Maryland and North Carolina submitted tape to the ACC office for further review.
“Regardless, he is not playing,” Tillman said. “I haven’t got any official ruling. What he did, in my mind, it’s not what we’re about. It’s not what we teach. It’s not what we preach. It was uncalled for. We’re going to discipline some things in-house. He understands what he did was wrong. Regardless, there are consequences.”
Cooper has three goals and six assists this season while running on Maryland’s second midfield line. The Terps (5-2, 1-1 ACC) have not used their third midfield much this season, and shrinking their rotation is a possibility Saturday against Virginia (8-1).
Tillman did not specifically say how Maryland would replace Cooper, though candidates to play more than usual include Jay Carlson (five goals this season), Rustin Bryant (one goal, one assist), Sean McGuire (one assist) and Joe LoCascio.
The fight occurred in the final minute with Maryland trailing 11-9. Cooper cross-checked McBride, who took exception to the play and tackled Cooper. The Maryland midfielder then punched McBride several times before several North Carolina players arrived in response.
“We talked at great length in the locker room and I expressed my displeasure at [the incident],” Tillman said. “Kevin hit him high, and even that was the wrong thing to do. Their player got up and retaliated and Kevin didn’t respond the right way. It’s always the second guy that gets caught, or the third guy. A lot of mental things come with being a good team. Regardless of what the other team does, there’s a right and wrong response and we have to have the right response.”