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.
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
|1. Maryland football
|2. Navy football
|3. Maryland men’s basketball
|4. Georgetown men’s basketball
|5. Towson football
|6. Morgan State football
|7. Howard football
|8. Maryland women’s basketball
|9. George Mason men’s basketball
|10. Maryland men’s soccer
|11. Navy men’s lacrosse
|12. Maryland men’s lacrosse
|13. Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse
|14. Georgetown football
|15. George Washington men’s basketball
|16. Navy men’s basketball
|17. Loyola men’s lacrosse
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