- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 14, 2002

DALLAS Maryland's record-setting men's soccer season came to an end yesterday but not without controversy.
Third-seeded UCLA used a penalty kick with eight minutes left to eliminate No.2 Maryland 2-1 in semifinals of the NCAA College Cup at SMU's Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
The Terrapins, who finished with a school-record 20 victories against just five losses, were making their sixth trip to the final four overall and their second under coach Sasho Cirovski. His first ended with a loss to Stanford in 1998.
Against UCLA (17-3-3), Maryland was left looking for a penalty kick of its own that never came.
With about 16 minutes remaining in a scoreless game, Terps forward Domenic Mediate, who had scored four goals in the tournament to fuel his team's run, charged into the penalty area and was brought down two yards deep on contact with a Bruins defender.
The Maryland bench erupted, arguing for a penalty kick, but no foul was called. The Bruins quickly capitalized on the confusion and scored on a counterattack seconds later. UCLA's Matt Taylor got the goal off a nice pass from Adolfo Gregorio.
Cirovski, who has mellowed somewhat in recent years, then was ejected for what an NCAA spokesman said was foul and abusive language to an assistant referee. After the game, Cirovski and his players would not comment on the officiating.
"This has been the best year of Maryland soccer in the last 34 years," Cirovski said. "Our motto is to play like champions, and one day we will be champions. We play the game the right way. We do play with passion. We play with emotion, the way this game should be played. We're going to get better. We have no seniors. We vow that we're going to be back in the College Cup, and we're going to play two more days next year."
Maryland almost extended its trip to tomorrow's championship game against the winner of the Stanford-Creighton semifinal.
Sumed Ibrahim tied the game 1-1 in the 81st minute as Maryland hustled to create scoring chances after falling behind. Sumed took on several UCLA defenders near the top of the penalty area and managed to squeeze off a shot. The ball sailed high and found the top corner of the far post.
A minute later, Maryland suffered a second letdown. The first led to Taylor's goal, and the second lapse in concentration led to UCLA's penalty kick.
Moments after Sumed scored, Maryland goalkeeper Noah Palmer came off his line to meet a charging Bruins attacker whose shot deflected back out into the penalty area. UCLA's Cliff McKinley ran onto the ball, which Palmer dived to grab but instead tripped McKinley.
"I thought I got my hand on the ball before his leg, but the ref didn't see it that way," Palmer said.
On the penalty kick, Gregorio delivered a shot near the left post, and Palmer was caught diving the other way.
"In the first half, we allowed UCLA to dictate the rhythm of the game," Cirovski said. "We made some adjustments at halftime, and I thought we played a great second half. I thought we put UCLA under constant pressure. Unfortunately, some things didn't go our way."
After the game ended, Palmer pointed and shouted at the officials, who were gathered at midfield. Meanwhile, the Bruins hugged and celebrated all around them.

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